A lone boat washed ashore, torn asunder. It looks pitiful and decrepit, with a stern completely annihilated and an interior rusted past its nobility. It sits on the beach and casts a long shadow, seemingly staring towards the ocean which it once journeyed. It wasn’t a dominant force of the sea, but nothing really is, and it fared well for its meager but resilient design.
One can wonder about the stories told within this boat — about the people who did not use it as a tool and a cold, lifeless object, but those who named it, those who loved it, and for whom its health was not a matter of indifference but was imperative.
In this picture it is a collection of materials that still maintains enough form for us to call it a boat. By the time this is being written it has moved locations. In years from now, or even sooner, it will no longer hold enough shape to be recognizable for its past existence as a sea-faring wonder.
Truly, if we were to be generous we would recognize this wreck with all that it deserves.
At the very least, we would say this probably used to be a boat which floated on the surface of the ocean, transporting humans and their accessories around Kachemak Bay.
For us Homerites the seafaring lifestyle is common place. The Betster coexists with a plethora of people who make their living fishing. A small skiff such as this seems almost insignificant in this world.
And, extending our scope even further, this vessel is archaic in the light of current, or cutting-edge, technology. Comparing this wrecked ship to even the most mundane convenience of our daily modern lives, such as the smart phone likely in your pocket, makes it appear crude.
But it deserves more: to be seen just a bit more as what it actually is.
Unfortunately, the totality of what it actually is escapes us. Only imagination and hypothesis can stock our stories with the life of this ship, and one could never finish writing stories. Especially for this Betster, who sits three degrees removed from the ship, merely observing and talking, it lacks the depth in which it existed for those who built it by hand, took it on the water for the first time, and really knew it.
Seeing this lone boat during one of your busy days, you likely thought little of it. At most, maybe you thought, “huh, a wrecked ship.”
And that is not wrong, nor counterfactual. But next time, if you’re willing, try pausing just a moment longer to wonder what else this lonely, forgotten vessel contains.
For more invitations to wonder, check out these Best Bets:
BEST BY AND BAY BET: For years Semester by the Bay students have visited Homer to learn about our local marine ecosystem. Hear what the latest group has learned with its Marine Mammal Biology Symposium starting at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, in Pioneer Hall at the Kachemak Bay Campus. The two-part symposium features 15-minute student presentations on various topics starting at 10 a.m., including the impacts of ecotourism and whale-watching, the dental pathology of otters, and sperm whale sociality. From 5- 7 p.m., students will explain their group projects in poster sessions documenting critically endangered beluga whales on the Kenai River, marine mammal behavior and harbor porpoise photo identification in Kachemak Bay, and more. This event is free and open to the public.
BEST TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH BET: Through Friday and as part of the Rotary Health Fair you can get deeply discounted blood draws through by appointment. Appointments can be made at www.rotaryhealthfair.org. Appointments are 7:30-10:30 a.m. in Conference Room 3 at the hospital, and free flu shots are offered in conjunction with one’s appointment. Then on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Rotary Health Fair is back for its 39th year. Sponsored by Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary in cooperation with South Peninsula Hospital, this year marks the return of the in-person fair after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Blood draws will not be offered at the fair, though other health services including flu shots will. Over 50 exhibitors will be on-site with education, information, health screenings and more. For more information visit www.rotaryhealthfair.org or call the health fair hotline at 907-399-3158. Don’t miss the Great Candy Exchange on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Homer High School from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Children ages 10 years and under can trade their trick-or-treat candy in for great prizes! Sponsored by SPH. Info at www.sphosp.org.
BEST SWAP IT BET: Homer Community Rec offers its annual Ski & Winter Gear Swap, but this year there’s a bonus: the Telluride Mountainfilm Show. The evening of fun runs 5:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Homer High School. Starting at 5:30 p.m., check out the ski and gear swap of all things winter to get you out enjoying the ice and snow. Stay for dinner when HoWL sells soup and bread to support its programs. The Homer Middle School sells desserts to raise funds for its AK to DC trip. The Homer High Mariner Ski Team will wax your skis and snowboards for a small fee.
At 7 p.m. it’s the Mountainfilm Festival, with a night of amazing documentary films from the Telluride Mountainfilm ON TOUR Show #1 sponsored by Homer Community Recreation starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at the door for only $10.
BEST GET EMPOWERED BET: From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat. Nov. 5, and Sunday, Nov. 6, Ethan Martin holds an Empowering Consciousness Workshop at the Yurt on Diamomd Ridge (40885 Knot Circle). He facilitates a weekend workshop on using curiosity to gain personal insights into integrity, clarity, effectiveness, and consciousness. The workshop will focus on having personal insights and breakthroughs in consciousness, while dramatically increasing your freedom, integrity, clarity, and effectiveness. The workshop consists of brief lectures, discussions, partner communication exercises, and guided meditations designed to help you personally grasp something true about yourself and reality. To register, call Martin at 907-299-2513 or email email@example.com. The fee is $150 with a sliding scale.
GET READY GET SET BET: Get a start on the holidays with Sharlene Cline’s Poinsettia Holiday Cards workshop from 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Homer Council on the Arts. The fee is $50 for HCOA members, $60 for nonmembers. Learn traditional Chinese brush painting techniques with Cline. For this workshop, students will use traditional techniques of brush loading, color mixing, and careful brush strokes to paint poinsettias. Blank cards will be provided to create your own holiday greeting cards with your paintings. All levels welcome and all supplies provided.