Fairs and Bears

I know, I've been away. (And there was some trouble with the website as well, too many viewers, which is not  a bad problem to have.) I even missed the Sunday's Thought page, which I hate to do, but I went up to Anchorage Friday to visit JJ and our friend Garrison Keillor  and just got back on yesterday's ferry. I didn't bring my desk with me. (Okay, Garrison isn't really our friend, but we did get tickets to the Prairie Home Companion Summer Love Tour show at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday from my friend Holly who is a writer for the show, which almost counts.) It was sunny and 70 degrees and the show was outside. It was glorious especially after all our rain. There is more sky up north than in Haines, and it was deep blue and dappled with puffy cumulus clouds that looked like the ones you see in English paintings. There were two Ferris wheels, tents, and barns nearby, and in the background massive green and blue mountains. While Garrison and the gang sang and told stories, an antique plane buzzed back and forth, and in the distance a swinging pod on bungee cords dropped and bounced and spun crazy people upside down (who no doubt paid for the thrill) between two tall white poles. Garrison had so much fun that he kept talking and singing for over three hours-- he never left the stage or the stands (which he walked out in a lot) even at intermission. That's when he led a sing along of familiar American folk songs. He said he loved it here. (And he didn't even mention the most famous resident of nearby Wasilla.) "Let's just stay around in Alaska, send for our families, they could come up here and support us," he said, promising to be back. I hope he comes to Haines next time. If he liked Palmer that much, he'd flip if he saw Haines.

Also, I have had some notes about the October Women's Day that doesn't have my column in it. All is well. I write a monthly column for the magazine, but there are fifteen issues published a year. October is one of the two-issue months. I'm in the second one.Thanks very much for noticing. Speaking of noticing, everyone has seen or heard the bears it seems, there are a dozen -- or more--  feeding out at the Chilkoot River now, and there is at least one rambling around in our neighborhood, on Small Tracts and nearby FAA Roads, who likes to bash open doors. He banged on one up at Susan and Nishan's shop the other night. That's why I put the bear spray in my pocket for this morning's bike ride. I'd sure hate to be panting up Cemetery Hill and meet one barreling down at me, you know? Three fat Labradors did make my heart beat faster, and then there was weird screaming at one driveway that turned out to be two young children trying to walk a tugging puppy. It's funny how when you are little scared everything startles you. Well, we avoided the bold town bears (and dogs) but managed to frighten  a shy country bear at 15 mile. When he noticed us, he jumped and then hopped into the alders like a bunny. I said it was time to turn around. My husband said there are bears everywhere, we just don't see them looking at us from the brush. But he agreed because he had to get to work. I wonder, do bears worry about us the way we do them? I think most do. The trouble is, those are the ones you rarely, if ever, see.  


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