My brain has been so scattered — or full- or maybe simply multi-directional, if that’s such a thing, that I’m dizzy, what with all the organizing for Alaska Reads, and the continued Bears and Ballots interviews and events, the family texts and facetimes from my daughters and son, an obituary, the fall chores, the dogs. The garden.  Covid in the White House. Bears on the beach. Dinner? What’s for dinner?The local election results. (There are some nice new people on the Haines Borough Assembly- market clerk and artist Caitie Kirby and retired school principal Cheryl Stickler- and a new mayor, Doug Olerud who owns Olerud’s Market Center with his family. Former mayor and assembly incumbent Jerry Lapp kept his seat, and I’m guessing when the remaining 80 ballots are counted next week that one more new representative will squeak in. I’ll keep you posted.)

My  dad is here, too. He’s asleep in the windowseat in the living room with a down coat and his mask on. He is pretty safe, I think, as he leads an isolated life on the farm, and is 87. He has had a negative test since traveling, but he needs one more before we are in the clear, per Alaska guidelines. So we are all masked up and the stove is going and windows are open. It’s really nice to have him here.

What I started to tell you though, is that in yoga class Sarana has been talking about “little loves,” the moments, acts, objects, sounds– that spark love. That make us pause, even in the middle of the whackiest whiplash of times, to be happy, lighter. Grateful. And maybe prompt us to do some good, too, such as pick up trash I didn’t drop, or give you that feeling of appreciation like the Wendell Berry poem about the kingfisher, in which he reasons after watching the bird take a flight at dusk that, “he could only have made for joy.”  The thing is, while noticing these little loves or creating them is nice when it happens by accident, with a little effort, our good angels will nudge us in that direction. Or as the yogis and poets advise:  pay attention with intention.

I thought about all of that, and less–this is the other trick to noticing more of the good and less of the bad: turning off that radio in my head and listening instead to the crunch of boots on gravel, the splash of a sea lion in the river, a plane taking off at the airport–  while walking this morning on the beach, as the sky changed from gray to blue after a few days of windy wet, and even more so, after a neighbor walking his dogs too, announced that he had decided to finally accept that fall is here, and he was “Okay with that.”

” There is not actually an option, is there?” I teased him.

“That, my friend is not the point. I have officially accepted that it is October,” he said. (He can be dramatic, with a wink). We walked a ways together soaking in the fall morning and talking about elections and the world and how lucky we are, here. It was lovely to share that little laugh, and to have a little company.