Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gale Warnings

Even eagles have trouble in 40 knot winds. With a gale warning today that includes 7-9 foot seas, widespread rain, and heavy winds, we are grounded, anchored to land. The fishing trip canceled until this thing blows through town and up the passage. It's getting late in the year up here in Alaska, and everyone knows the fishing days are numbered. Soon, the cruise ships will turn their bows to more southernly points on the map and the chartered fishing trips will evaporate like drops of water on a campfire. A faint sizzle, the sizzle of summer, lingers for a moment, but the main splash is already faded. In Ketchikan, one must be ready to bend with the wind. "You take it as it comes, " they say here, "or, you take the ferry."

So, this morning I sit with a cup of local coffee and the wind, listening to an eagle calling out some story from its nest high in a tree next to me, and I try to write a story too, but all I've got are pictures today.

Sometimes you're lucky and you know a place. You think, 'I could show someone around this place' despite only visiting a few times. I imagine you here with me. If you were, I would show you a lake with a fire pit and its beautiful stone chimney lit each morning by an old man who lives nearby. I would take you to a rope swing, a pretty waterfall, and a quiet stream-fed cove where harbor seals try to get the best of the spawning salmon. I know an eagle's nest on a quiet beach far from the t-shirt shops and jewelry stores of downtown with a perfect piece of driftwood for making dreams. Later, we would stand at our car with quiet excitement at a cove south of town where the bears like to hang out, and then find a place just up the road where we like to hang out, and you would tell me what you know.

Perhaps we'd join the seals and the bears and the bald eagles, and fish the fish of long tradition and unmitigated determination.

Each one on board an honor and deserving of a word.

Before nightfall, we would roast an onion and a piece of fish on the grill, listen to the sea birds. Later, we would shuffle the cards, playing hand after hand long into the night, until eventually, we find our pillows, although not before setting the alarm clock to keep us from sleeping a moment longer than necessary in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Gale warnings don't stop us.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Ketchikan, Alaska


  1. I think you wrote a good story on this post. I can imagine what it's like as the season turns up there. Love your last few lines. :)

    Nice Fish!

  2. Thanks, Comstance. We got rained out and blown out for all but one of our fishing trips up here, but we got a few on the boat and are coming home with some for the freezer. Had a great time anyway looking for bears and eagles!

  3. Oops, sorry about the /m/ instead of /n/. They really are too close on the keyboard!