Islanders defy the dark

Nancy Hilliard
Around the Island

The longest night of the year descends on Dec. 21. Winter solstice is approximately 14 hours long. Beacons abound to get us through the dark: In celebration of the written word, Island Books’ owners, Roger and Nancy Page, have festooned their display of old typewriters with Christmas lights. One South end home displays 1,000 Santas to shoo the blues — St. Nick, Father Christmas, Sinterclaus and other renditions of “ho-ho-ho.”

Islanders embrace the daylight with winter walks. Six walkers did four miles Dec. 8 from Pier 54 up Madison Street to Lake Washington for a treat at Madison Park Bakery and welcome bus ride back to town. The hills didn’t daunt Brad Fowler, Bob and Suzanne Davis or Ed Helsel, seasoned walkers and hikers. But oh, my, Bob Hilliard and I must get in better shape for our springtime walk to Portland! Next five-miler is Jan. 5, across the floating bridge, down Rainier and Jackson streets, via the International District to the waterfront. The Feb. 2 four-miler is along Alki shoreline from Seacrest Marina to the lighthouse and back over the top of West Seattle. The levee along the Skagit River to see the snow geese is March 1, and a lowland hike is April 12. Contact

Speaking of bus rides: If you’re lucky enough to get on Chai Ahrenius’ 202, 205 or 265 bus routes, your day could be brightened with bel canto opera, belted by the baritone bus driver. He has sung for Seattle Opera for eight years and has driven Metro buses for 28. “Bravo,” shouted the dozen or so passengers on the 202 that left the South end center late afternoon on Dec. 4, when Chai responded to requests. A few strains of “Torna

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