Northern Lights

Closing Up and Putting Away

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The summer is gone; so too are the crowds

Flickr/bdearth

By Miranda Weiss

September 15, 2016


 

Once again, a swath of Homer is closing up for the winter. Most of the businesses on the Spit—the four-mile-long finger of land that sticks out into the middle of our bay and is the tourism hub—will shut down until next May. The pizza joint and trinket shops, the galleries and bear-viewing outfits, the fishing charters and ice-cream spots will close, many of them boarding up their windows to protect against winter storms.

Next Tuesday morning, the last cruise ship will call for the season, and about a thousand passengers will spill out of its blue hull looking for the Spit and where to eat and shop and pee. They’ll take off in time for dinner back on the ship. By Wednesday morning, the landscape out there will be entirely different.

The red and green trolley-shaped bus that runs a circuit through town during the summer will soon be parked. RV campgrounds are emptying out. The line at the local bakery is becoming manageable. And the parking lot at the beach down the street will finally have some spots.

It’s wonderful to play on the beach barefooted in the summer. And on many days during these past months, we took our swimsuits and jumped in. But I’m looking forward to the beaches in winter—to walking their empty expanses and watching the way storms reshape them. Everyone’s talking about what kind of winter we will have. Could we possibly, please, get some snow?

And now the fall to-do list comes into the fore: mow the lawn one last time; finish the chicken coop project and install the light and timer; put away all of the stuff that has collected in the side yard—fish smoker, half a dozen coolers, bikes, small animal figurines; retire the outdoor flowerpots; put up kale and chard; take down the pea trellis that is half broken anyway.

Getting after the to-do list isn’t easy, however. These fall days have been one storm after another, separated by a few sunny, gorgeous ones. I don’t want to clean up the yard in pelting rain, and on beautiful days, all I want to do is play. I’ll stick with summer for as long as I can.


Miranda Weiss is the author of Tide, Feather, Snow: A Life in Alaska. She is a science and nature writer in Homer, Alaska.


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