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 would rather view today as a week from Thanksgiving than four weeks ’til Christmas. Blame it on my Episcopal raising, but I like to have a season of Advent between my two Turkeys. (Although I have strung up lights on the porches and garage and there’s a tangle in the bushes at the end of the driveway so I can find it in the dark.) What I wanted to tell you was about the afternoon when I was shopping last minute for cranberries last week. In the frozen food section (might as well pick up some more green beans while I’m here) I saw my neighbor, and we talked about the 24 hour news — refugees, police shootings, Paris, ( and now another mass murder in CA) what is the matter with us? It  used to be that in Haines we hardly knew this and I suppose could pretend to ignore it when we did. Turn off the radio and the TV. Now, it’s on the alerts on my phone. The world is in my pocket. Which means I do know a few things, a lot actually. More than I want to. I also know it is Advent, when as the readings say, we wait and prepare our hearts for the Messiah who will turn swords into plowshares and preach blessed are the poor. The Prince of Peace. The man who said to love your neighbor and your enemies. Why is it so hard to say yes to refugees and no to guns? Yes to schools and no to armies? Yes to saving the earth and no to corporate greed? Yes to light and no to darkness? What kindness, what love, what beauty, what peace, are we so afraid of? I’m joining the society of raging grannies. These beautiful children deserve better than this. Oh, but where to begin? Dropping a few dollars in the Salvation Army Kettle at Howsers grocery store is as good a place as any. 

There is also choir practice tonight at 6, and singing together always helps make the world a better place– in a karmic way– and tomorrow is another first Friday in Haines, with carols at the museum, art openings at the Confluence and Skipping Stone on Main St., and Kelly Mitchell’s felt ornaments (I love the bunnies and birds) at the Distillery. There is a bazaar Saturday at the school and the Lighting of the Fort is Saturday at 5.

Yesterday at the pool my brother-in-law gave me the play-by-play on the assembly meeting, “There was nothing on TV so I went, and it was way more entertaining,” he said. They upheld our planning commission ruling, too. Then I took Caroline to school and had coffee with an old friend in Sarah J’s covered porch. There’s a dirt floor, twinkling lights, garlands of cedar, and a fat pot belly stove crackling in the corner. It’s just right. I was asking my friend, a  former teacher, about a former school superintendent, Steve McPhetres, whose obituary I’ve been writing this week. She said he was such a good person, kind and gracious, that when he fired her, due to a declining enrollment, “even that was a pleasant experiance.” I told her about the pre-school home search front. The board met with the Presbyterian’s this week about using the church basement for their school. The board members, those proud young mothers, wept with gratitude for the kindness they were shown. “No one else has been this nice to us,” one said. Which is another way of saying that with so much good in the world, we can do better both near and far.