Fall reflections

The other day as I left Bishop’s Beach, the sky morphed into a red/orange sunset with Augustine Volcano on the horizon and a crescent moon reflected silver in a tide pool during tidal change. Four sandhill crane silently glided overhead to roost in Beluga Slough. The only sound was the hiss of the receding tide. It was one of those memorable moments when it felt like my body could burst with joy one minute and the next wonder how this singular perfection exists when so much of the country burns, floods and roils in turbulence of nature and man made disaster.

Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings, and then they shape us.” Applied to this town, we shape our lives here and the geography shapes us. We pay it forward by how we choose to live with others and how we choose the future community we want to be.

This past summer it seemed Homer was busier than usual with visitors, regular cruise ships, tourists galore, along with the usual festivities summer brings. Spring clean up, gardens planted, we moved into July when life becomes a notch more intense as salmon run, boats on the water increase as well as people. The Farmer’s Market kicked in and days were rich and full with hikes, boat trips, fishing, people milling around the spit and in shops, local races run and then summer sent students and teachers back to school and many of us to the beach to participate in the Burning Basket. This year the evening and weather were perfect for the spectacular “Dream” basket in flames and sparks in the evening sky! Can September get any more wonderful?

I’m not sure about the rest of Homer, but raspberries in this patch are bigger, juicer and redder than past years. As I picked berries and batted insects, the bushes sent the message, “Always be more generous than you intend.” As the bucket filled, I began to think of jam, syrup, cake filling, peach melba (fresh peaches/raspberries and vanilla ice cream with raspberry syrup over the top), and realized I was thinking “my berries.” When finished the first day, I gathered myself and the berries and delivered them knowing there were many more to pick and many tired servers at Finn’s Pizza would enjoy them. That led to a chocolate cake filled with raspberries between layers, raspberry tarts, raspberries on cereal, raspberries and cream, raspberries in the birch sap I collected earlier this year, etc. What’s not to love about a fresh raspberry that tastes like eating sunshine? Planted gardens, berry bushes, salt water, a glorious landscape and this sense of place gives back in spades. How can we be so fortunate to live in such a place? Don’t you ask yourself this question too? How can I honor this gift?

Food helps offset darker aspects of life that sit beside glorious days. This summer, we’ve lost loved ones in this town and this community surrounds those who grieve. Not wanting to sound morbid, but it seems life comes knocking at our door asking us to be a little more generous. When we give in friendship and generosity of resources, we are larger than we think and we take the next step in life to find ourselves just beyond where we need to be.

Presently in Montana, my nephew lies temporarily paralyzed (we hope) from West Nile Virus and Q Fever, both at once, unable to breathe on his own. A healthy robust man, stricken by a mosquito and breathing barnyard dust! My niece’s husband served three tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan, then died of flu early this summer where they live in Oklahoma. Now she has cancer on one of her kidneys. Life seems to go in a straight line and then abruptly take a ninety degree turn.

None of us have a window into the future. None of us know what surprise the immediate road ahead will deliver. Misfortune doesn’t care your age, your status, any aspect of life. It has its way with all of us in one way or other, at one time or other. No one immune has been my experience.

With mid-term elections looming, devastating climate disasters the world over, it’s easy to feel isolated and protected in this idyllic place. Let each of us promise ourselves to be more generous than we intend, more giving, more compassionate with ourselves, our family and our neighbors near and far.

Flo Larson is a Homer Foundation trustee.

Nonprofit Needs for September

Hospice of Homer seeks volunteers for its Volunteer Training in October, and its direct care and equipment volunteers. Call 235-6899 or email service@hospiceofhomer.org for more info.

The Homer Community Food Pantry needs frozen meat/fish and fresh produce. Call 235-1968 or come by the pantry on Monday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Other needs are donations of toiletries, dog and cat food, reusable shopping bags. Volunteers also are needed; join the pantry from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, lunch included. Contact 235-1968.

Sprout needs diapers (size 5 and 6); sealed, unexpired infant formula; new or gently used baby/young child equipment and toys, bed rail/guard, infant/toddler bike attachment, postage stamps, outlet plug covers for childproofing; safety latches for doors, cabinets, drawers and cupboards; baby gates; furniture to wall fasteners; five-panel baby protect wall with gate. Contact: Mae Remme, mremme@sproutalaska.org.

HoWL could use some youth archery equipment. Contact: HoWL Mike, michael.sturm@howlalaska.org.

The Homer Farmers Market needs help on Saturday, Sept. 29, for its Annual Harvest Party. They could use help serving food (arrive by 11:30 a.m.) and also need help breaking the market down on starting at 3 p.m. Contact: Robbi M Mixon, robbimmixon@gmail.com.

Haven House seeks donations of the following items: deodorant, dog food, writing journals, daily planners, monthly planners, shaving razors, shaving cream, chapsticks, suction hooks (for showers), arts & crafts-children/adults, swiffer wet jet floor cleaner, and sewing kits (small). Contact: Maggie Lush, maggie@havenhousealaska.org.

SPARC would gladly accept donations of used roller skates or blades, so more community members can enjoy its new skating activities. They can be dropped off at SPARC weekday mornings or Contact: sparchomer@gmail.