We Alaskans know about darkness. We know about the chill that descends upon us, sucking joy from life. The events of the world break our hearts, and though we might light candles and pray, sometimes we will wonder if hope can stem the tide of darkness. More die. More are maimed. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, quoting Theodore Parker, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Winter can feel like that, an arc of the sun too long to rise far above the horizon. Ice seems to freeze instantly below our feet as we skate across Beluga Lake. Winter has us in her grip. Bundled up in down coats, scarves wrapped 10 times around our heads, still we shiver. Will light and warmth ever return? We Alaskans know about short days and long nights. But we also know that the long night ends eventually, and that even in darkness, hope endures. Perhaps the mourning candles of Friday the 13th will be the last ones we light. Perhaps we will light fewer candles. Meanwhile, we endure, we live, we laugh and above all else, we love. And we celebrate, somberly and with joy subdued, for the day will come when the light returns. Until then, keep the light shining, if only a little, with these Best Bets: BEST MIX IT UP BET: The Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center’s After Hours Event is supposed to be about meeting and getting reacquainted with people in the business community, but we’re all friends here in the enterprise of making a living. It’s also a good time to say hello and catch up with acquaintances. NAPA Auto Parts sponsors this month’s event from 5-6:30 p.m. today. BEST SING YOUR HEART OUT BET: Opera season is coming up, and tonight’s feature is a bit different from the Homer Opera Society’s Live at the Met. At 6 p.m. today at the Homer Theatre the society shows “One Chance,” a documentary about Paul Potts, a shy shopkeeper and an amateur opera singer who wows the world on Britain’s Got Talent. A fundraiser for the opera society, admission is $10. BEST SMALL ART, BIG TALENT BET: Some of Homer’s best established and emerging artists show that creating small doesn’t confine their talents. See what they’ve done in Bunnell Street Art Center’s 10×10 show, opening at 5 p.m. Friday at Bunnell. The only limit is that each work can be no larger than 10-inches squared — or 10-inches cubed for sculpture. BEST BIRD ON BET: Bundle up and keep those binoculars warm for this month’s Kachemak Bay Birders Second Saturday field trip, staring at 10 a.m. at the Kachemak Drive parking lot at the base of the Homer Spit. Timed to catch the tide, you might see a lot of the winter birds hanging out on the Spit — maybe even that elusive emperor goose that people keep reporting. The field trip is free, but the birding knowledge is priceless. BEST BEE THERE BET: Get started for next spring’s bee season with “Beekeeping,” a presentation from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the Best Western Bidarka Inn for the Homer Garden Club.