Chapters of Egegik – solstice and tradition.

2 August 2012 § 1 Comment

20 June 2012

Usually I’d be pages into a summer-long letter by now, addressed to the latest girl who’d kissed my heart (or whose heart I wanted to kiss). This year does not follow tradition like I’ve had fortune to before. However, it is solstice, and I am in Egegik, anchored in 10 pm sunshine after a lazy day of beer and weed and great food (my greatest salmon experience to date, grilled by my skipper, Robert, with a fruit + nut + mayo salad, gooey brownies and vanilla hemp milk to top off an afternoon of knots and gluttony).

I am a part of this fringe culture but do not belong to it. I am among friends but not family. Will fishing be one of my lifelong traditions? How long will it be worth it?  How many other ways can I make a still-mysterious small fortune in so little time? We’ve been out a week, refilled our 500 gallon fuel tank twice and caught but 2000 lbs of fish. The odds are not stacking in my favor. Should this season, for whatever reason, turn out similar to my last three financially, it may be time for a career change. I love being a commercial fisherman, but have always felt that I could sacrifice my summers in nobler ways than feeding the world, like bounding off for the mountains with a rogue wind to fend for myself instead.

My passport, with help, could deal with less use. My backpack far more. Who knows, we three could be more stable for it, or even schismed soon.

Oh yes, tradition. I may break it and still keep it. You never know when you could use one for parts.

Finally the two-year guilt trip will pass. Though it was largely gone by the first anniversary, I keep it in a special pocket this time of year. The boats all lead to the Egg around now, and so often I am on one. What about this place makes me want to leave behind all those whom I love?

Is it the midnight sunsets from the cannery, Red Hot Chili Peppers and wash down hoses spraying noise into the rivermouth? Perhaps I am inspired by the coast crumbling into the freezing Bering Sea, or the blown volcanoes under heaps of snow. Maybe it is the sea herself, for whom I feel both fear and servitude. Do I in fact belong here, if for no other reason that I keep returning with the knowledge of what associations await? have I more in common with these people than I think? Do I fit in here better than with the music world? Surely, but I was not this me then.

I’ve accepted that my jobs cannot be without a certain glamour, prestige, perhaps even envy from others. They must, for me, have a romanticized mythology where more happens in the imagination than in the recording studio, on the fishing boat, in the mountains. I must be in a subtle limelight and have a mortal sense of purpose; do or die. Literal or figurative; my ego and I take good care of what does not destruct under proper stress otherwise.

I mean, what else is there for me? Novel writing? Psh. I have few marketable skills, having led a life of Flow Experiments in place of real goals or dedicated pursuits. I continue university out of not wanting to look for a ‘real’ job, and because it comes with less obligation; I drop it to travel at any time, and justify doing so out of expenses rather than giving into a mediocre cash flow in and out of my pockets and thinking that being in one place for a while will be somehow good for me. I do it because I think one day I’ll enjoy my writing, and therefore gain the confidence to do something more than write a fucking blog for seven people to read while they’re bored cruising facebook.

I think that some magical spell to improve my script and diction, structure and storylines is a class or a degree away at all times, unreachable but by the arm of fate, who will, at my whispered request, drop a top editor in my lap to ask the hard questions with just the right attitude to motivate me instead of send me off, arms crossed and eyes rolled.

Yes, that person will be my ticket to writing where and what I want, and my getting paid a bunch of money I’ll deny myself  by buying gear for adventures I’d rather kill me than living forever into the future. My name will be on websites only bookworms visit, in magazines that cost the same as two meals, on shelves in shops I refuse to patronize.

If this person never shows up with a smile for my messy books, I may well be a traveler and a fisherman forever, writing blogs, content with my obscurity and unused bragging rights to my adventures (for I’ll not have spoken much of them at all), turning away from every love I find as soon as I choose to call it Love. I’ll cycle through life on a used Trek bike, happy in my thrift, making decisions entirely based on what I thought life might be like when I was 15.

Happy fucking solstice.

11.38 p.m., sunset at the edge of the world.


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