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.

The stars are out this morning, the wind is cooler, and there is still ice underfoot but the beach sand is crunchy and frozen. Maybe the wetter days are behind us for a little while. The forecast is for cold, clear days. The winter has been a challenge, freezing one minute and raining the next, making for lots of ice and puddles. Two people at church have broken ankles in falls. 

I was in Mt. Market talking to the Presbyterian pastor and a nurse from the clinic about an article I’d read on teaching old people in the Netherlands how to walk on uneven or icy ground, have more confidence moving, and even how to fall properly to avoid injury. The nurse said a 90-year- old friend of hers says the secret to a safe winter is not to lean over, rather stand tall, “tits up”. Then she said, “Oops, probably shouldn’t say that in front of you,” to the pastor, who laughed and said it was okay.

Then he noted that staying upright and firmly grounded is important, and what he advises is G-rated. “Act as if you are conducting an orchestra,” and demonstrated it right there in front of the dairy cooler. 

 Yesterday, I was in the clinic with my elderly neighbor who slipped and fell. She’s okay, just a cut and bruise, and ironically it was not on the ice but in her kitchen, anyway, while a different nurse tended to her in the emergency room, we chatted about ice, and the injuries, and then moved onto the Haines Highway which is so icy it’s been closed for days, but it finally reopened, which  she said is sort of good news for this weekend’s AlCan 200 snowmachine race. Nicole runs the annual race down the highway and back on her  fast snowmachine,  and while she was not thrilled with the ice, snow is better, she said it’s preferable to last year’s 30-some miles of  bare pavement for zooming along at breakneck speeds for 200 miles.  It tore up her track and she couldn’t steer well. Her father figured out how to use his legs as wings to sail on the turns and stay on course. The Alcan 200 begins at the border at 7 Saturday morning. There are about 25 competitors. Let’s hope none of them end up in the clinic (unless of course they work there) and only have good tales to tell. 

Tonight is the first Rivertalk of the winter at 7 at the Chilkat Center. 7 people tell stories 7 minutes long. The whole scene is always fun, festive, and usually crowded. Honestly, couldn’t you use a night out with some laughter about now?

Saturday there are two movies at the Chilkat Center. “Ninjago” at 4 and “Kong, Skull Island” at 7:30. Both are fundraisers for the boys basketball team. (The girls and boys play in Wrangell this weekend. The games will be broadcast on KHNS.)

Saturday from 3-7  at the American Bald Eagle Foundation, Lynn Canal Conservation is hosting “Tier 3 and the Chilkat,” an informational talk and discussion about preserving the river’s water quality, there’s a short film too, and a  potluck at 6. (It’s kid friendly.) 

Speaking of water and kids, the annual home swim meet is coming up Jan 26,27, & 28. Check with the Dolphins folks if you’d like to volunteer, and Coach Jackie is starting a masters swim group. Sign up at the pool, or call/text her at 314-0043.