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Heather Lende

This is what my husband said to my father on the phone: “Not much is new here. The weather is great. The kids are doing fine, and they found a murderer in our neighborhood."

Make that an alleged murderer. Later I heard that the guy they were after may have jumped out a second story window and might have hid in a neighbor’s shed, before he was captured right before a friend and I walked our dogs in nearly the same location. It was a sunny day, my doors were wide open, there were babies and old people at home up and down the road, so I called the police to see what was happening. They said not to worry; a suspect was in custody. When I shared that with another inquiring neighbor, she said, “Suspected of what?”...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- We could pretend this is March, then it wouldn't be odd at all for it to be so cold and relentlessly snowing. Then, a bike ride in the snow would be almost fun, something to laugh or even brag about -- or at least a choice -- and not a must-do with seven weeks left before the Kluane-to-Chilkat International Bike Relay...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- The Chilkat Center was full a few summers ago for Pete Lapham’s funeral . So many of us felt like we knew him well because the DOT foreman waved, smiled or nodded it seemed at everyone he passed on his daily rounds of our roads and highways -- the walkers, cyclists, and all the drivers from Lutak and Mud Bay to the border. In every season, in weather fair and foul, Pete waved, and we waved back. With spring sort of in the air, I’m out on my bike more and I miss Pete’s friendly gestures...

Heather Lende

Author's note: A year and a half ago my friend Rene asked if I would write her obituary. I did not know Rene as well then. She knew me better because she read my books and blog. She lived in Juneau, but her family has a cabin in Haines, where I live. We became friends only after I knew Rene wouldn’t live long. I write a lot of obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines. I believe reading them ought to teach you something about life. Rene’s, which I wrote for Sunday’s Juneau Empire, does -- and that is why I’m sharing it with you. She never read it. I figured it was bad luck to complete an obituary ahead of schedule...

Heather Lende

Editor's note: On March 3, 2013, four heli-skiers fell as a result of what officials are calling “a massive cornice failure” near Haines, Alaska. One guide died, and two clients were injured. One client, columnist Heather Lende’s daughter’s boyfriend, survived the 1,000-foot tumble and snow slide, unharmed. He credited an inflatable personal airbag, a helmet, and his avalanche training, as well as good fortune, for saving his life...

Heather Lende

HAINES -- Poet Mary Oliver says that what we must do with this wild and precious life we are given is simple: pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it. I am prepared to be astonished. I honestly am. It is the way I want to walk in this world. It's a lot more fun than watching out for another truck to run over me, you know?

But even so, I have witnessed so many astonishing precious and wild moments in the last few days that I am flattened (in a good way).

Just this morning, I have been keeping company with a black wolf. He was on Pyramid Island when Pearl and I walked out on the low tide sand flats within stick tossing distance...

Heather Lende

Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on Friday, Feb.1 at the blog of Haines writer Heather Lende.

HAINES -- At about 9:30 a.m. Chip came back from work -- he had forgotten his empty growler for the brewery. It must be Friday.

It also must be February, as we now have eight hours of daylight -- and much longer "nautical twilight" making evening walks, skis or snowshoes easier. Also, the cold has broken and now it is raining, ever so lightly, and 30 degrees, which means a new kind of weather advisory -- for ice up to a quarter-inch on everything, making "driving and walking hazardous."...

Heather Lende

I am so glad that I don't have to keep checking the web, listening to the radio and clicking back and forth between opposing news channels on the TV anymore -- the election sucked my time like a black hole. It also made me very anxious for what turns out was no reason.

The other thing that struck me, when the Obamas came on stage that night, was how much can change in a family in four years. The president's daughters aren't little girls anymore. They have changed more, it seems, than our politics, or the country, and no matter how you voted, that should be a heads up to pay attention. The wheels of government turn slowly while time flies...

Heather Lende

We spent the weekend of Sept. 15-16 camping on a beach next to the woods and swamps, so far up the river from Haines that we were practically speaking Canadian.

Perhaps the moose up there do speak Canadian, as we didn't see a legal bull, or at least I don't think we did. I am sworn to secrecy since the hunt continues until Oct. 6. The antler restrictions for this subsistence hunt require a spike, or a fork, or three brow tines on either side, or that the whole rack be over 50 inches wide.

Yes, it is complicated, and it means you have to be pretty darn close to that huge, amorous bull moose to see it clearly before you shoot...

Heather Lende

After popular fisherman and father of three daughters, Richard Boyce, slipped off his gillnetter and drowned on the Fourth of July, his friends wanted to do something positive and honor his memory. So they decided to provide flotation devices in the form of inflatable suspenders for the rubber rain pants of every fisherman in the Haines fleet -- about 176 skippers and deckhands.

Really, one person, Randa Szymanski, spearheaded the effort, with guidance from her fisherman husband and his buddies on what would and would not work. Good intentions won't save lives...

Heather Lende

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