We had a guest speaker this week for our mid - week Lenten series at church. Since I provided transportation for him I had some time to talk with him. It was his first visit to Kodiak and while he was impressed with the beauty of the island, he was even more impressed that so many people live here. Can live here. How do you live here, he wondered out loud. I mean, he said, the remoteness, the isolation... I couldn't do it. I am never sure how that question is to be taken. Is it how do you do it - you moron, as in only a moron could live here. Or is it more like - how do you live here - you exceptionally courageous and adventurous human being. I usually take it the latter way and feel justifiably smug about my outdoorsey creds. Oh, you know I want to say, it takes a special kind of guy to be able to live here, sort of a blend of Teddy Roosevelt and Bear Grylls. I was just born lucky, I guess. I can't confess to feeling like going to bed at 8:30 pm in the winter time and waking up to my SAD light, can I? How could I say I get seasick on the ferry? Or I have moments after 14 days of fog and drizzle and seeing the thermometer stuck at 39 degrees when I want to scream Will Somebody Get Me Out of Here, Please. Would Bear Grylls do that? I don't think so. So, what do you need to survive here - so you can keep secret your times of inner despair.
Well if you live in town you can drive out to Java Flats for coffee or lunch. It is not far but when you can't get far it feels like you are getting away.
You can stop and take pictures of the 49 eagles that are sitting on tree branches across from the canneries and ask yourself, now how many other places can you see so many eagles in one tree at one time?
You can drive out to the rocket launch at the end of the road and daydream about what it would be like going into space. And then be glad you are driving back into town.
You can think about how it is almost spring when the temperature will break through the 40 degree mark and it will be light til 10pm soon and you will feel like doing something again.
You can take your bike to 58 North for a tuneup to get ready for the bike ride from Chiniak during Crabfest (Memorial Day weekend). Then you can hope you can get out on it once or twice to get in shape for the ride.
You can tie some flies and get your rod and reel ready for salmon fishing and if you don't tie flies or fish much - it sounds Bear Grylls like to say that is what you are doing. Bear Grylls would not say he was reading a book or watching the history channel on tv.
And one more thing you can do. Have some people over who just got back from Hawaii and listen to stories about how other people survive living on an island.