Outdoors

Reflective Horizons

Finding light in the darkest season

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

I was in our backyard scrounging up some random pieces of flashing for my long-planned chicken coop renovation when it hit me. Padding softly over the spongy rain-soaked lawn between the tool shed and the scrap pile behind my firewood racks, I glanced westward through a break in the evergreens and caught sight of a spectacle that stopped me in my tracks.

A low-drifting band of quilted clouds was glowing purple in a molten-pink sky and somewhere just below the darkened rooftops the late-autumn sun was evaporating into a radiant golden haze.

Beholden as I was to stand idle and savor every last ounce of such a luminous horizon, it only took a couple of minutes before I heard the Lady of the House tapping on the kitchen window to divert my attention.

When I craned my neck to issue the requisite affirmative nod, she pointed at the sky and deployed an emphatic thumb’s up.

For the umpteenth time in our middle-aged, nature-loving lives we were pleased to be situated at just the right moment in just the right place that allowed us to share the beneficial effects of an illuminative, emotionally uplifting phenomenon that this indiscriminately mossy, rain-engorged neck of the woods is renowned for generating.

Although neither of us are covetous by nature we freely admit to being greedy in this regard, a predisposition which only succeeds to intensify by multifold degrees whenever the days start growing shorter and the autumnal storm cycles hasten us into the icy jaws of winter.

Simpatico as I am with the survival instinct to hunker down for extended periods indoors during the current precipitation onslaught, experience has taught me that cold, dark, sloppy conditions also serve to increase the potential for encountering certain types of critters, plant life and atmospheric vistas whose presence animates even the most empyrean depths of hibernal gloom with an aura of discovery and wonderment.

Alongside a professed inclination to pursue snow sports and snow-sports-related activities that help stave off the desultory effects of the darkest season by stimulating sustained bursts of adrenalin and endorphin-induced euphoria, I am just as likely to invest vast stretches of time undertaking more contemplative-based outdoor activities that lead me far and around throughout the lower but hardly any less inspirational coastal elevations.

Generally speaking, when I’m not sun bathing at Teddy Bear Cove, patrolling the seabird-strafed beaches of Semiahmoo Spit, circulating through the Trumpeter swan/snow geese-packed fields on Fir Island or meditating expressively in a tinder-dry grove of Chuckanutonian cedar trees, you can find me crawling around the moss-carpeted duff with an oversized magnifying glass in dogged pursuit of the inexpressibly bizarre yet riveting antics of our region’s paramount terrestrial gastropod—a lusty, ravenous, hermaphroditic creature known commonly as the banana slug.

I won’t pretend my methodology is strictly scientific in observing the three individuals who currently inhabit my study zone. But compared to the day-to-day crap storm that humanity is putting itself through right now, it feels like the ultimate safe space down there—a miniaturized version of paradise going on beneath the sandstone cliffs and ferns.

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Leaf It Alone
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I’m not panicking quite yet, but the fact remains that I have approximately one million chores to accomplish in the garden before throwing in the trowel for the season.

For instance, I have yet to plant the garlic bulbs I purchased from Rabbit Fields Farm at the Bellingham Farmers Market…

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So Adult
Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association turns 30

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Kill Switch
Siuslaw Chainsaw Massacre

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While the meadow enhancement crew struggled to evacuate a corps member who was bitten by a…

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Saturday
Paintings of My Life, In Dialogue

11:00am

View Beth Anna Margolis’ “Paintings of My Life” from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Feb. 23 (closed on Thanksgiving) at Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd. The show features a…

Holiday Bazaar

8:00am

Peruse glassworks, woodworks, metalworks, jewelry, paintings, knit-wear and more at a Holiday Bazaar featuring one-of-a-kind gifts from Whatcom County artists from 8am-5pm daily through…

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Allied Arts’ annual Holiday Festival of the Arts takes place from 10am-7pm daily through Dec. 24 (except on Thanksgiving) at 1411 Railroad Ave. The five-week-long festival will feature works…

Salmon Sighting with NSEA

10:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for the final Salmon Sighting events of the season taking place from 10am-1pm Friday, and 12pm-3pm Saturday at Bellingham’s Arroyo Park. Join…

Future Artifacts

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Nov. 27 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

Whidbey Art Market

10:00am

After a year’s hiatus, Whidbey Art Market returns from 10am-4pm Friday and Saturday in Freeland at Freeland Hall, 1515 Shoreview Dr. There will be something for everyone—oil, acrylic,…

Amy Popelka at Good Earth

11:00am

Works by featured artist Amy Popelka can be seen for the final week from 11am-5pm daily through Saturday, and 11am-4pm Sunday at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.

Small Arts Works Juried Show

11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Small Art Works” regional juried art show can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Jan. 13 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St.…

Studio Conversations

11:00am

Anita Lehmann’s “Studio Conversations: Short Stories” can be viewed from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through November in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St. Masks…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Dia de los Muertos: A Day of Remembrance,”…

Lorna Libert at Scott Milo

11:00am

New Pacific Northwest oils by Bellingham-based artist Lorna Libert will be featured from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Nov. 27 at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave.…

Dendritic Signals

11:00am

View “Dendritic Signals” for the final week from 11am-4pm Wednesday through Saturday at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The show features abstract artwork in a variety of mediums and colors,…

Morris and Obbink

11:00am

View works by sculptor Ann Morris and landscape-inspired watercolors and colored pencil works by Kim Obbink for the final weekend from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at Smith &…

Mindport Exhibits

11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

Among the Trees

11:00am

Check out the invitational exhibit “Among the Trees” for the final week from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The show features works by numerous…

Up Close and Personal at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Up Close & Personal: The Body in Contemporary Art,” “Artists x Artists,” “The Fairhaven Hotel,” “People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey Through the Tribal Cultures and History of the…

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm

The annual “Deck the Old City Hall” returns starting this weekend from 12pm-5pm Friday through Sunday at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. View a variety of themed, decorated…

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm

Attend “A Drive-Thru Christmas” from 5pm-10pm Friday through Sunday in Stanwood at Warm Beach Park, 20800 Marine Dr. The illuminating experience features more than a million lights, festive…

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

7:30pm

Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph will make appearances when Music Theatre International’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed…

Genre Legends

7:30pm

At 7:30pm and 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday, “Genre Legends” will take the stage at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. Watch the players pick multiple genres for each show and…

A Christmas Carol

8:00pm

One of the Skagit Valley’s favorite holiday traditions continues when A Christmas Carol opens this weekend with showings at 8pm Friday and Saturday, and 2:30pm Sunday in Mount Vernon at the…

Shakedown Shows

9:00pm

Fretts, JP Falcon Grady, and an “It’s Kizmet” drag show start at 9pm Fri., Nov. 26 at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. The COVID Relief Benefit Show for Make.Shift Art Space will be followed…

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am

Attend a Pancake Breakfast from 8am-10am at Ferndale’s American Legion Post #154, 5537 2nd Ave. Entry is $3 for kids 12 and under, $6 for adults.

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for a Work Party from 9am-12pm at Squalicum Creek. Volunteers will be planting and mulching native trees and shrubs to increase stream health…

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am

The Bellingham Farmers Market continues its 29th season from 10am-2pm Saturdays through December 18 at Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. Attendees can expect about 60-70 vendors per…

Open Day for Honey, I Shrunk the Art

11:00am

Attend opening day for “Honey, I Shrunk the Art” from 11am-7pm on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, 2345 Blanche Way. The annual multi-artist small works show can…

Share Spot

12:00pm

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters host a Share Spot from 12pm-1:30pm every Saturday offering free food to take or share in the employee parking lot of the Industrial Credit Union, 3233 Northwest…

Holiday Market at Twin Sisters

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Holiday Market at BBB

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

Twin Sisters Holiday Market

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Boundary Bay Brewery Holiday Market

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

An Elvis Family Christmas

1:00pm

Kick off the holidays and award-winning impersonator Danny Vernon for “An Elvis Family Christmas” at 1pm and 6pm in Anacortes at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge’s Walton Event Center, 12885…

Semiahmoo Sips

2:00pm

From 2pm-4pm every Saturday, attend “Semiahmoo Sips” in Blaine at the wine cellar at Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. A sommelier will pour samples of four different wines from a…

Chuckanut Bay Distillery Tour

4:00pm

Learn more about the inner workings of a true grain-to-glass distillery when local historians the Good Time Girls lead 21-and-older tasting tours at 4pm Saturdays at Chuckanut Bay Distillery,…

Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses

4:00pm

As part of Small Business Saturday, attend a Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses from 4pm-9pm at the Granary, 1211 Granary Ave. All vendors will donate 10 percent of…

Steve Webb and the Great Mad Swirl

7:00pm

Steve Webb and his band the Great Mad Swirl will make music from 7pm-9pm at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave. The local trio are known for blending a powerfully rich…

Wild Buffalo Live Music Lineup

7:00pm

The Walrus performs at 7pm and Spaceband takes the stage at 9:30pm Sat., Nov. 27 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming events include John Craigie with special…

Sunday
Paintings of My Life, In Dialogue

11:00am

View Beth Anna Margolis’ “Paintings of My Life” from 11am-4pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Feb. 23 (closed on Thanksgiving) at Gallery Syre, 465 W. Stuart Rd. The show features a…

Holiday Bazaar

8:00am

Peruse glassworks, woodworks, metalworks, jewelry, paintings, knit-wear and more at a Holiday Bazaar featuring one-of-a-kind gifts from Whatcom County artists from 8am-5pm daily through…

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Allied Arts’ annual Holiday Festival of the Arts takes place from 10am-7pm daily through Dec. 24 (except on Thanksgiving) at 1411 Railroad Ave. The five-week-long festival will feature works…

Salmon Sighting with NSEA

10:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for the final Salmon Sighting events of the season taking place from 10am-1pm Friday, and 12pm-3pm Saturday at Bellingham’s Arroyo Park. Join…

Future Artifacts

10:00am

“Future Artifacts” shows from 10am-5pm daily through Nov. 27 in La Conner at the Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. The exhibit features work by Lummi Nation glass artist Dan Friday,…

Whidbey Art Market

10:00am

After a year’s hiatus, Whidbey Art Market returns from 10am-4pm Friday and Saturday in Freeland at Freeland Hall, 1515 Shoreview Dr. There will be something for everyone—oil, acrylic,…

Amy Popelka at Good Earth

11:00am

Works by featured artist Amy Popelka can be seen for the final week from 11am-5pm daily through Saturday, and 11am-4pm Sunday at Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.

Small Arts Works Juried Show

11:00am

Stanwood-Camano Arts Guild’s “Small Art Works” regional juried art show can be viewed from 11am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through Jan. 13 at A Guilded Gallery, 8700 271st St.…

Studio Conversations

11:00am

Anita Lehmann’s “Studio Conversations: Short Stories” can be viewed from 11am-6pm daily (except Tuesdays) through November in Mount Vernon at Perry and Carlson Gallery, 504 S. First St. Masks…

Quilt Exhibits in La Conner

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Dia de los Muertos: A Day of Remembrance,”…

Lorna Libert at Scott Milo

11:00am

New Pacific Northwest oils by Bellingham-based artist Lorna Libert will be featured from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Saturdays through Nov. 27 at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave.…

Dendritic Signals

11:00am

View “Dendritic Signals” for the final week from 11am-4pm Wednesday through Saturday at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The show features abstract artwork in a variety of mediums and colors,…

Morris and Obbink

11:00am

View works by sculptor Ann Morris and landscape-inspired watercolors and colored pencil works by Kim Obbink for the final weekend from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at Smith &…

Mindport Exhibits

11:00am

One-hour reservation slots are now open for household groups or pods of up to 10 people from 11am-6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays at Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly St. In the months they were…

Among the Trees

11:00am

Check out the invitational exhibit “Among the Trees” for the final week from 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The show features works by numerous…

Up Close and Personal at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Up Close & Personal: The Body in Contemporary Art,” “Artists x Artists,” “The Fairhaven Hotel,” “People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey Through the Tribal Cultures and History of the…

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm

The annual “Deck the Old City Hall” returns starting this weekend from 12pm-5pm Friday through Sunday at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. View a variety of themed, decorated…

The Lights of Christmas

5:00pm

Attend “A Drive-Thru Christmas” from 5pm-10pm Friday through Sunday in Stanwood at Warm Beach Park, 20800 Marine Dr. The illuminating experience features more than a million lights, festive…

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

7:30pm

Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph will make appearances when Music Theatre International’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed…

Genre Legends

7:30pm

At 7:30pm and 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday, “Genre Legends” will take the stage at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, 207 Prospect St. Watch the players pick multiple genres for each show and…

A Christmas Carol

8:00pm

One of the Skagit Valley’s favorite holiday traditions continues when A Christmas Carol opens this weekend with showings at 8pm Friday and Saturday, and 2:30pm Sunday in Mount Vernon at the…

Shakedown Shows

9:00pm

Fretts, JP Falcon Grady, and an “It’s Kizmet” drag show start at 9pm Fri., Nov. 26 at the Shakedown, 1212 N. State St. The COVID Relief Benefit Show for Make.Shift Art Space will be followed…

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am

Attend a Pancake Breakfast from 8am-10am at Ferndale’s American Legion Post #154, 5537 2nd Ave. Entry is $3 for kids 12 and under, $6 for adults.

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Join the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association for a Work Party from 9am-12pm at Squalicum Creek. Volunteers will be planting and mulching native trees and shrubs to increase stream health…

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am

The Bellingham Farmers Market continues its 29th season from 10am-2pm Saturdays through December 18 at Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave. Attendees can expect about 60-70 vendors per…

Open Day for Honey, I Shrunk the Art

11:00am

Attend opening day for “Honey, I Shrunk the Art” from 11am-7pm on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, 2345 Blanche Way. The annual multi-artist small works show can…

Share Spot

12:00pm

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters host a Share Spot from 12pm-1:30pm every Saturday offering free food to take or share in the employee parking lot of the Industrial Credit Union, 3233 Northwest…

Holiday Market at Twin Sisters

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Holiday Market at BBB

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

Twin Sisters Holiday Market

12:00pm

Local arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-5pm Saturday and Sunday at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, 500 Carolina St. Visits by Santa…

Boundary Bay Brewery Holiday Market

12:00pm

For Small Business Saturday (and beyond), shop local at a Holiday Market taking place from 12pm-4pm Saturday and Sunday at the Beer Garden at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad. From…

An Elvis Family Christmas

1:00pm

Kick off the holidays and award-winning impersonator Danny Vernon for “An Elvis Family Christmas” at 1pm and 6pm in Anacortes at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge’s Walton Event Center, 12885…

Semiahmoo Sips

2:00pm

From 2pm-4pm every Saturday, attend “Semiahmoo Sips” in Blaine at the wine cellar at Semiahmoo Resort, 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy. A sommelier will pour samples of four different wines from a…

Chuckanut Bay Distillery Tour

4:00pm

Learn more about the inner workings of a true grain-to-glass distillery when local historians the Good Time Girls lead 21-and-older tasting tours at 4pm Saturdays at Chuckanut Bay Distillery,…

Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses

4:00pm

As part of Small Business Saturday, attend a Sustainability Showcase featuring Women + Queer Businesses from 4pm-9pm at the Granary, 1211 Granary Ave. All vendors will donate 10 percent of…

Steve Webb and the Great Mad Swirl

7:00pm

Steve Webb and his band the Great Mad Swirl will make music from 7pm-9pm at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave. The local trio are known for blending a powerfully rich…

Wild Buffalo Live Music Lineup

7:00pm

The Walrus performs at 7pm and Spaceband takes the stage at 9:30pm Sat., Nov. 27 at the Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St. Other upcoming events include John Craigie with special…