Yesterday, we hosted one of Michelle’s coworkers and his girlfriend for lunch at the homestead.
Michelle walked Lettie out to the bay to reunite her with her family, then hiked home with our guests and their beautiful husky from their summer residence in the bay.
We’d been anxious to invite them out all summer, but with the hectic tour season, and the two of them tag-teaming the office’s management, finding time to recreate together proved tough. In fact, they left town for the winter today.
But, what a perfect visit! After a few days of very rough weather, we had autumn sunshine to bask in as we sat on the veranda, eating homemade pizza and drinking homemade wine. The fishing boats from the morning had moved on, leaving our view to a couple of sea lions. “Termination dust,” the first snow on the Coast Range, reminded our friends that it was time for them to head south (after first going north to their property in Willow. Alaskan life can be complicated!).
We’d long discussed the visit, which we all referred to as “christening” the new veranda. I’d even considered offering a small ceremonial libation to the deck, but decided that would be too corny. To my delight, our guest made an emphatic gesture to warn the dog off someone’s food. She did it with the hand holding her wine glass, and accidentally sloshed “an offering” onto the deck. That worked out perfectly, didn’t it?
Perhaps best of all, just as they gathered themselves to head back over the ridge to continue packing their car, we heard a humpback whale. As we watched, it swam past the homestead beach, gratifyingly close.
This, from our point of view, represented a huge social coup. We’ve seen very few whales this season. The last one we saw came by on the 7th. They also seem to stay away when someone’s visiting. It’s sad, since we brag about them so much. I once even wrote a tongue-in-cheek open letter to our maritime neighbors asking for better cooperation (see Visitors Have Arrived: Cue the Whales!). For a whale to arrive just in the nick of time for our friends to see it (the first one they’ve seen this year, they said) seemed like a perfect way to end the season.