Best Bets

Yellow leaves, brown leaves, orange leaves, yellow leaves, yellow leaves, yellow leaves, yellow leaves.

Make a pile of them. Watch them fill the gutters up. Cover up your growing lawn. Collect and make a collage.

All the green has been sucked by the sun, all used up, and the shell of the leaves hang from the trees now. The air is colder around the leaves, the days filled with more darkness.

It’s a time for leaves to fall off trees and reveal limbs which extend and turn and look barren without their clothing. Where do the spade shaped leaves go once they fall?

The passing of one season into the next seems to never come until all at once it has arrived. Without a formal greeting, the new replaces the old and we can no longer deny that we are facing a climate which is different than what we had become accustomed to.

But what about the spruce trees, those evergreen towers which seem constantly in the background of all our Alaska ordeals. Do we appreciate their stability? From season to season they seem to remain unperturbed, silently watching and baring both the shine of summer and the soul of winter.

Green needles, green needles, green needles, green needles. All year long they cling and do not loosen their holds. With health and sturdiness they do not flinch even as the snow piles up atop their branches.

There are those trees which change, cyclically deteriorating then blooming, and there are those which stay constant. Are we drawn to one approach or the other more?

Both trees look surreal under the novel light of the moon which appears when the clouds finally are exhausted. In the night air of Alaska, Kachemak Bay sparkles differently and the abundance of daylight turns to an expansive mystery which seems large in all directions yet indeterminate throughout.

Nights will continue to grow as we approach the winter solstice. Perhaps it is worth collecting some of the bright yellow leaves now to lighten up our homes. The first snow will soon come to conceal all the fallen emblems, and begin to make soil out of that which formerly danced about in the afternoon winds.

With the falling of the leaves, we must turn inwards and indoors for the sources which will give us energy. Luckily, we live within a community which tries to help us with this in various ways.

Check out these Best Bets for activities to mark the passage from summer to fall:

BEST ALL WRITE BET: Just because we’re at the end of the road doesn’t mean we don’t get cool writers — or have them live here. Tonight at 6 p.m., The Kachemak Bay Campus presents a reading by 49 Writers Tutka Bay Retreat author Luis Aberto Urrea. Urrea, a Guggenheim Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist, is the author of 18 books and has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. This event is free and open to the public.

And then on Friday, two of our best local writers, Tom Kizzia and Rich Chiappone, talk from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Homer Public Library. In honor of Alaska Book Week, join Kizzia and Chiappone as they continue their audience-interactive discussion of writing about Alaska using nonfiction (journalism) or fiction writing techniques. Deep thoughts and silly jokes will be guaranteed. This hybrid event may be attended in-person at the library or online via Zoom.

BEST ROLL ‘EM BET: Back once again with yet another awesome line-up of documentary films, the Homer Documentary Film Festival starts at 6 p.m. tonight with its gala opening. Enjoy an Alaska barbecue, preview of the weeklong festival films, and a showing of the premier movie “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen – A Journey, A Song.” Full Film Festival information can be found online at ​ Gala Tickets $20 Ages 15 to 59; $15 Discount Admission for Seniors, Youth & Military. Purchase a Festival pass for $50 (including gala admission) or get your tickets at the door.

Are you a member of the Homer Hockey Association? Players who wear a hockey jersey (preferably from a Homer team) will be eligible to see one of the film, “Hockeyland,” during the Homer Doc Fest free of charge. Showings are 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24; 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28. Players are encouraged to bring their parents.

BEST MOVE IT BET: Whether you get around on foot, bike or unicycle, don’t miss the Homer Drawdown People Oriented Transportation Meeting from 6-8 p.m. Thursday online. Homer Drawdown is a citizen group seeking practical solutions to reducing Homer’s carbon footprint. For its latest project, they’ve selected people-oriented transportation. Learn about the concept or share ideas. The meeting will feature a presentation on Homer’s Master Transportation Plan by Julie Engebretsen and Jan Keiser. Listen in for an update on the Oct 1. Symposium, a trails update, policy update, and breakout rooms. The Zoom link is

BEST ACROSS THE WORLD BET: Nigerian artist Kelsen Nnaji, virtual Artist in Residence at Bunnell Street Arts Center, holds an online talk at noon Wednesday, Sept. 28. He mainly works in graphite, charcoal and acrylic. He is also a student of Radiography at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he produces digital art. Adept in portraiture, he captures the essence and emotion of his subjects through his rendering of sweat, water droplets, skin pores, acne, moles, hair strands, wrinkles and fabric texture. Recently he has delved into the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) space as he believes they will play an important role in the future creative industry. During his virtual residency at Bunnell, Kelsen will be designing a label for Grace Ridge Brewery. Originally, Nnaji planned to create a mural in person at the brewery but he was denied a visa by the Nigerian government. In his virtual artist talk, Kelsen will share about his artwork, life and culture in Lagos, as well as reflect on the new work created through his virtual residency. To sign up for the talk, visit

BEST CREATE BET: Homer artist Sharlene Cline offers another of her amazing art classes with ” Chinese Painting: Poppies” from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Homer Council on the Arts. The class if $50 for HCOA members, $60 for nonmembers. Learn traditional Chinese brush painting techniques with Cline. This month students will use traditional techniques of brush loading, color mixing, and careful brush strokes to paint poppies. All levels welcome, all supplies provided.