When you woke up the other day, did you feel a little bit older? If so, that’s because you are older — a lot, lot older, NASA scientists say, like 100 million years older. Thanks to some new research, NASA has come up with a new map of the oldest light in the universe. The new age estimate is 13.8 billion years, 100 million years more than previous calculations.
Holy AARP! That’s a lot of birthday candles. Of course, you, that hunk of matter assembled in your mama’s womb and grown over the years, that being is a bit younger. The stuff of all us, the electrons and atoms and molecules that we’re made out of, well, sheesh, it’s older than dirt. It’s older than stars, even. We’re stars ourselves, when you think about it. Our planet — which is to say, the local conglomeration of matter from which we all came — is only about 4.5 billion years, a mere teenager in the span of time.
Maybe that abrupt change in age calculation caused our own local universe to go catawampus. We had been cruising into what seemed like a nice gentle spring with warm and sunny days, the snow melting, when in roared one of those late-March storms we don’t like to think about. What storm? I don’t see any storm. Waves pounded the Spit, eagles flew sideways and seasoned citizens knew to enter cars on the lee side. The wind blew so hard the Betster is pretty dang sure all our snow blew north and got dumped on Anchorage.
Still, some remain optimistic. Chilly as our mornings might be, it does warm up in the afternoon, or can. It reminds the Betster of what passed for winter growing up in Florida. Riding to school in the morning at a chilly 45 degrees, the Betster would be bundled up like Ralphy in “A Christmas Story.” In the afternoon, it would be 75 degrees. A winter like that can confuse a child. Thus it was gratifying to see the optimism of a Homer girl waiting for the bus the other morning. Even though it was 15 degrees, she wore a T-shirt and slacks. The only thing keeping her warm was a rucksack that would challenge even a Marine on long-range recon. Attagirl! Don’t let bitter winter weather keep you down.
So as the Brits say, keep cold and carry on. As those daylight hours get longer and longer, winter cannot hang in here much longer. Spring, real spring, is coming, so get ready and celebrate, perhaps with some of these Best Bets:
BEST GOT YOUR BACK BET: From youth to tough looking cops, lots of people will be standing up for peace and against domestic violence and sexual assault at noon today at WKFL Park. It’s part of statewide Choose Respect rallies. Make flags at 10:45 a.m. at K-Bay Caffe. South Peninsula Haven House sponsors the event.
BEST BIG AND HAIRY BET: Hey, the Alaska Interior can’t claim bragging rights anymore — the Kenai Peninsula had wooly mammoths and other Ice Age critters. Learn about the latest research when Janet Klein and Dick Reger present “Evidence of Ice Age Mammals on the Kenai Peninsula” at 6:30 p.m. today at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.
BEST HE THE MAN BET: More of us might be speaking Russian if William H. Seward hadn’t persuaded the Czar to let Alaska go for the bargain price of $7 million and some change. Learn about “Alaska’s Indispensable Man” in a talk at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Kachemak Bay Campus with history professor emeritus Stephen Haycox and author Tom Kizzia.
BEST ON THE FARM BET: You can’t tell farm critters it’s not spring. Out at Seaside Farm, the animals are getting ready. Take your kid to Family Farm Day for Kids and get a little taste of your grandparents’ nature from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Sponsored by Nature Rocks Homer.
BEST UP AND DOWN BET: If the Sea to Ski Triathon were made for couch potatoes, it would start at the top of the hill and end up at the Spit. As if. The annual run-bike-ski event begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mariner Park, goes up to West Homer Elementary School and then over to the Baycrest Ski Trails. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m.
BEST FREEDOM! BET: All that freedom stuff William Wallace got his kilt in a snit about came to a head in 1320 with the Scottish Declaration of Arbroath. A few hundred years later, the Americans were infected. Learn about the connection between the Declaration of Arbroath and Declaration of Independence in a talk at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday by Hal Shepherd at the Kachemak Bay Campus.