Story last updated at 8/6/2014 - 10:24 pm
Technically, my graduate school summer work ended Aug. 1, but I finished my final projects early because the weather forecast said it would be sunny.
I had an "A" going into those two items, so though they were worth a considerable portion of my grade, I figured I didn't need the extra time to do the good job I'd do anyway - why not get it done and out of my life. Right?
Sun has been at a premium of late, so I had a moral obligation to get out and do something great. Since early June, I had reading, online tutorials, assignments, projects and discussions to ensure I was absorbing the content necessary to become a Master of Journalism Education in the eyes of Kent State University.
That was all finished, so I had to decide. Though the season has opened for subsistence hunters, there are those who are waiting to let those velvet coated racks get a little more growth. Others are out there harvesting meat, only slightly caring about head growths. Then some don't care at all. Meat is meat. You can't eat the horns.
So there's that, but it's not my time yet. I moved here in October, I don't get the federal subsistence perks until I've spent my 12 months. So hunting was out, but shooting a big buck with my camera is something I've done before. I like to hike and fix my lens on wild beasts, so that was a definite possibility.
I'm one of those guys who doesn't mind doing the work. "Where" is just as important as "what," which is a perfect transition to fishing.
There are salmon coming in the river down the street, but it's the river down the street. It's too easy. Not that the fishing is too easy, but the effort to get somewhere secluded and new is at least half of the experience.
I thought about a big, looping fishing trip, hitting as many rivers as possible. The water has dropped from levels brought on by the incessant rain of the previous week, so fish should be more consolidated. I could take my single-handed fly rod, a switch rod and fish whatever water I could find, then find some more.
Either way, whether I hiked to scout and be a photographer, or fish, the whole point was to do something outside the norm. Something I moved to Alaska for.
At some point (there are probably more than on) you have to wonder about talk, and wonder if that's all you're about. There are things you want to do, decide to do, promise to do, but routine, like a net, encompasses you if you're not careful, stifling your freedom.
Now that my one-year move - thanks to circumstances outside my control, but also because I was curious about what it would be to live in Alaska as an adult - is over, I'm here to stay.
For eight years, I threatened I'd move from California. It was having two months here during the summer which made me drag my feet because it was the best of both worlds, but with the majority of time spent in California.
So I'm faced with it. All that I want is here - it's up the mountains, down the river, out in the ocean, the next island over, a few islands up, on the mainland, ten feet from the couch.
Now that my job as a graduate student is finished for the summer, I can concentrate on having fun until my job as a teacher starts for the fall.
The only wrong choice is to sit around and think rather than act.