Story last updated at 4/30/2014 - 7:07 pm
I went to the store to get a jar of spaghetti sauce and saw that there was a meat sale, two ribeye steaks for $10. What better way to celebrate a glorious spring afternoon than grilling some steaks? I still bought the jar, but pasta with venison meat sauce will wait for another day.
Howie and I ate the steak and grilled vegetables on the deck overlooking the calm bay in front of my house. Though it was a Monday, it wasn't acting like it.
We discussed summer, because as the sunny afternoon indicated, it's not too far away. I am assuming, of course, that because I said the warm season is close, there will be a cold snap which will kill all that is starting to bloom. I will take full responsibility. No need to send letters.
Anyway, it's difficult to organize thoughts with regard to the pending summer because there's so much to do and so much you feel like you've deserved to be able to do. They're called "wants."
The wants come well after the needs around the house - which come after the need to make money - but on those warm afternoons you can't keep your thought process from being overtaken by the opportunity of another Alaska summer.
The school year is over, so the teacher (Howie) and substitute (me) go off the clock. We both guide during the summer, but work is secondary when you're daydreaming.
You discuss practical goals for the upcoming weeks or months. You need to get a bunch of firewood and stock it away, but you don't make plans.
Instead, you think about getting a canoe and floating down the Thorne River.
Then the want gets out of control. You start thinking about taking a jet boat up the Stikine, getting dropped off near the Canadian border and floating down over the next week. Then you think about how you have to work, and taking a week off from guiding is the best way to ensure you don't make money - which you'd need to finance a trip up the Stikine in the first place.
So the conversation then goes back to needs. Howie's got to skirt his house because he's losing a ton of heat without it.
I need to build a shed to store more firewood and provide a good place to hang a deer because the garage is a little low. The deer then derails me into a swamp of more wants.
Getting a nice blacktail for the freezer makes a great day, but a moose or caribou would be incredible. You could even including the rafting. You sit forward in your seat and talk over the plate that held the steak you devoured and talk with urgency and excitement - and a complete disregard for reality.
Yeah man, get flown out somewhere, dropped off, float down some creek that becomes a stream that becomes a river and get picked up by one of those wheel planes with the special tires meant for landing on gravel bars. Epic.
That has nothing to do with Howie skirting his house, or me building a shed, but the deer takes you there. Wants.
Then you space off. Waiting for the next need to take you to the next want.
If it never comes, you just enjoy the evening and the warm sun on your pale legs because in 10 minutes it could be raining.
In 10 minutes, it is raining and you realize it's still only April.
Jeff Lund grew up in Southeast Alaska and after 10 years in California, succumbed to the pull of home. He writes a weekly outdoors column for the Capital City Weekly. Follow him on twitter @alaskalund.