I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

I like to imagine the bear families silently padding past the house while I’m sleeping. There’s a path through the grass in the yard, and a place where it’s flattened, where they took a nap. The raspberry canes have been tugged over.  There’s scat on the beach to mark the direction they come and go from. They stop by, but so far don’t venture towards the coop or the garden. Unlike the bears roaming town, these beach bears have not developed a taste for carrots. (We did pull them all yesterday, just to remove temptation. The cherries and berries are all picked, too.) This morning Stoli came over from next door looking to borrow some coffee. “Did you see the bear last night?”  she asked.  What bear? “At about 9:30, right by our window, I thought you saw it. We heard you whistling,” she said. I was putting the chickens to bed and turning on the electric fence. I always whistle in the dusk, just in case.  Stoli said Janine’s cat ( the librarian lives in the studio apartment above Stoli and Nels’ garage) was sitting near the bear, watching it. She said the bear walked up to the garden fence and gave it  a little shake, but didn’t climb over it.  It’s a little thrilling, this close encounter with no harm done. I like living with bears, carefully and cordially. I also like that over  70% of Haines voters said Yes on repealing the 2 billion dollar oil tax giveaway on Tuesday even though statewide the oil company backed Nos are ahead by 7,000 with about 20,000 votes still to be counted and that in our family we cast eight of those votes (and maybe 9, depending on if my fishermen son made it into Petersburg on Tuesday.) And I like that after all the kind of very big things– George and Richard’s passings, and Chip starting weight bearing today– the election, and Eliza’s baby shower in Juneau this weekend, and JJ and Bryan’s engagement ( Did I tell you that? Yes, we will have the fourth Lende wedding next summer!) Anyway, after all the big things, it was nice to hear the news on a dog walk of my friend’s different kind of  “very big day.” She helped teach her grandson to tie his shoes for his first day of first grade yesterday.  Also, Haines had the high temperature in the state yesterday at 72, and 75 is predicted for this afternoon. That’s the kind of big day we all can use about now.