Reports have come in from seasoned observers out East End Road that termination dust has appeared on the higher elevations of the Kenai Mountains across Kachemak Bay. We’re not talking a full-on cap turning the Poot Peak Panda Bear into its winter coat, but a wee bit of white on a distant nunatak in one of the glaciers.
Holy Cheechako! At this point the Betster’s editor hovers over the computer screen waving a blue pencil and says, “Ahem. Define those words.”
OK, if you’re new to Alaska or visiting, like this nice woman from Hawaii the Betster met the other day, “termination dust” is the phrase Alaskans use for the first snowfall on the mountains. It’s a sign that construction season will end soon and work ends. (This does not apply to hardier carpenters, who can work in anything as long as their Carhartts don’t crack.)
The Poot Peak Panda Bear is the combination of rock, forest and snow on the side of the chocolate-drop shaped mountain straight across from the Spit that looks like a bear. She stands out when snow covers the slopes.
A nunatak is a mountain sticking up out of a glacier, like the one in the middle of Grewingk Glacier.
Don’t know cheechako? You might just be one — a newcomer, that is.
So there might be some termination dust, eh? That would be the first sign of winter. A hard frost would be another sign, but so far the Betster has not yet scraped ice off yours truly’s windshield. Usually a good frost causes berries to create ethanol, which is why you see so many happy crows this time of year. The crows have been eating a lot of mountain ash berries, but perhaps they’re just hungry.
Will we have a real winter? Will we actually see subzero temperatures? Will we even see freezing temperatures? The Betster stopped trying to predict the future after everyone seem so dang certain we would have a woman president by now. You know how that turned out.
We’re cynical journalists here on the south shore of Beluga Lake. Like we told a person on the phone the other day who started a conversation with, “This might be an odd and strange question,” we thrive on odd and strange questions. Some people call uncertainty chaos. We call it news. It’s a living.
But as always, there’s one thing you can count on, and that’s for dern sure, is that in this beautiful and amazing place there’s always something to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST BOOK ’EM BET: It’s Alaska Book Week, or as we call it in Homer, “normal.” We have so many writers and poets in this town that if you flung a copy of “Elements of Style” into Alice’s Champagne Palace odds are you’d bonk an author. Celebrate some of our local wordsmiths at 5:30 p.m. today, Oct. 11, at the Homer Public Library with readings of their work.
BEST AND ANOTHER AUTHOR BET: Sometimes we run low on writers and have to import them, like David Stevenson, a creative writing professor from the University of Alaska Anchorage and the director of its master of fine arts in writing program there. Stevenson does a reading and book signing at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Kachemak Bay Campus Commons.
BEST RED LIGHT BET: Want to know what’s happening with upcoming road and intersection improvements next year? Check out the Homer Transporation Fair from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Homer Middle School and get all the updates on projects, including the Main Street and the Bypass stoplight.
BEST GET WILD BET: Enjoy a pig roast, swill some wine, buy some auction items and honor Daisy Lee Andersen Bitter for her Land at Heart Award at 6 p.m. Saturday at Wasabi’s. It’s the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust’s Wild Places Gala. Tickets are $75 each.