If you lived in Homer on Dec. 21 and wondered where the heck all that daylight had gone, cheer up. You’ve found it. All those photons apparently crawled forward in time and landed on Tuesday, June 21. We’ll get a whopping 18 hours and 44 minutes then, or as they call it in Barrow, “a good start.”
Holy Axial Tilt! If you’re new to Alaska, all this light can be a bit intimidating — and intoxicating. Even seasoned sourdoughs have trouble sleeping. That’s not necessarily due to the light. People get a bit manic when the sun doesn’t set until 11:30 p.m. Good grief. There’s plenty of time after dinner to putter in the garden, repaint the deck, build a greenhouse and write a sestina or two.
One of the Betster’s perverse pleasures is watching people newly landed to our shores trying to cope with that blast of light. It just frazzles them. Out at the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference last weekend, some Outside visitors had some real aesthetic shock. On the one hand you have all this amazing scenery and endless beaches. On the other hand, dang it, they’re supposed to be writers and poets. Writing works best as a task with few distractions, and when you’re talking light at midnight and the most amazing view on the planet, hah! Bonne chance, as they say in Paris.
Be like Joe. That’s the Betster’s advice. Joe is an author the Betster knows who writes his novels in longhand, in custom journals, and with fountain pens. You can do that sitting out on the deck, the sun pouring down, the birds chirping and maybe a moose munching in the meadow. Just wear sunscreen and look away from the mountains.
This is the height of summer, Betsteroids, the peak of daylight, the moment we imagined all winter. Oh my. Celebrate the solstice with some of these Best Bets:
BEST ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE BET: Forty-nine people shot dead and dozens more wounded just because they wanted to dance at a gay nightclub? The rising tide of hate laps at our ankles, but we can push back violence the way we always have — with love. Show Love for Orlando at 5:30 p.m. Friday at WKFL Park. Support the Pulse club victims and their families and show a little love to our own LGBTQ community. Create art, listen to music, and share words and thoughts.
BEST KEEP ON WALKING BET: It’s been a rough year for people struggling with cancer. We’ve lost Eva Saulitis and Carmen Field among many other good women and men. Honor those struggling with cancer and those who have passed with Relay for Life, the annual American Cancer Society fundraiser. It runs 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday at the Homer Middle School track. Support teams and take a lap or two for a friend. Opening ceremonies are at 10 a.m. with a survivors and caregivers walk. The luminaria lighting is at 11 p.m.
BEST SING AWAY BET: Here’s another hero who fights the darkness — Hobo Jim. Known as Alaska’s Balladeer, his gentle voice, smooth guitar pickin’ and amazing songs have inspired Alaskans and visitors alike. He’s back this summer from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at AJ’s Old Town Steakhouse. If you haven’t seen Hobo Jim perform, you can’t say you’ve seen the real Alaska.
BEST RAINY DAY BET: With this awesome weather we could just see sun all summer, but you never know. We’re Alaskans. We always have a Plan B. If it should r-a-i-n, head indoors to the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center for some great lectures and talks. At 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Wednesday it’s “A Brief History of the Refuge.” At 1 p.m. Thursday, Monday and Tuesday, check out “Bear Viewing: Fun or Folly?” Learn more about bears with at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Pratt Museum with “Bear Safety Messaging: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”