Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Much of the world has come out of hibernation and all of us “two-dose” recipients are feeling happy and safe and trying to make up for a lost year. Unfortunately, we’re all shooting for the same thing at the same time—build the new home, take the family camping, fly fish the waters we’ve always dreamed of. Live more, work less.
I got the traveling Jones back in April, climbed aboard an Alaska Airlines jet, and a few hours later was checking into a quaint hotel in Ketchikan. The next day I landed in Petersburg and stepped onto an exquisite 68-foot yacht, the Hawkeye II. I spent the next five days with friends, under full sunshine, cruising the Inside Passage, stopping here or there to prospect rivers for wild steelhead and sea-run cutthroats.
I can say, it was good to be out of the house, talking to people, seeing new waters, being free. Free from quarantines, free from masks, free from the news and the digital madness we live with each day. There was no internet connection on the Hawkeye II. No way to update a blog, or answer emails, or post to Instagram or Facebook. I had my eyes and landscape, a Moleskine and a pen.
One day I climbed to the top deck, took off my shirt and baked in the rare Southeast Alaska sun, perfectly comfortable despite cool coastal air and random icebergs gliding by. I drifted in and out of sleep, recalling my youth in Southeast, all the good times with family and closest friends. We’ve lost a few of those Petersburg people lately. My parents are aging. Myself, and my sister, too. Who isn’t?
With a clear head and time to think, the Covid year suddenly appeared as a major dividing line in life, like a high school or college graduation, a 30th, 40th or 50th birthday. There was life before Covid and now there would be a life after. I whittled down the dominant themes, closed my eyes and wondered, What’s next? I pictured the future, considered where my focus should be. Then I picked up the Moleskine and wrote:
I’m not sure what these lists say about myself—am I boring and old fashioned or have I lived right?—but the simple process of hitting reset gave me a sense of direction. It was Alaska in April. It was northeastern Washington in May. By the time you read this I’ll have fished the Kvichak for rainbows. Then summer in the Rockies with my dad. Fall will be all about Pacific Northwest steelhead. And next spring, if all goes as planned, I hope to be back aboard the Hawkeye II, with my daughters, minus their cell phones, cruising through the Inside Passage.
I’ve got my path outlined. You might want to do the same. A week on the water, passing through wild landscapes, free from the daily clutter, has a way of putting things in perspective. —Greg Thomas