Jr, me, photo courtesy of Randy Caparoso
Jr heads North for the summer, as has been our family tradition from the beginning, in a week and a half. School closes for the year, then a few days later she is off to Alaska to commercial fish for salmon and spend time with my family. It’s a multi-generational migration integral to our lives.
I’m the only one not still commercial fishing all summer–I started at 9, became a business owner at 13, and sold it at 23. My sisters, their families, my parents all still fish together. The experience shaped my entire constitution. For more than a decade after leaving the industry, I still had spontaneous experiences in summers of boat-rocking while sitting on dry land. My skin starts aching for salt water. My feelings turn to gush. I become emotive and overly energetic as my body still recalibrates to the expectation of intensive physical exertion on lack of sleep. Last year I channeled that extra energy into three intensive months on the road interviewing people in wine. This year my plans are still in formation.
My family history rises from the land of Bristol Bay on the Western coast of Alaska. I’ve written before, here and elsewhere, of how conception of self and tribe for Indigenous people is rooted in the land itself. It is where we are from that makes our lives possible. This is true of anyone, but it is definitive of what it is to be aboriginal. So, though I return now only sporadically, I send my daughter back every year. She too is of the place from which we come.
Until mid-June, then, I’m slowing down a touch on the frequency of my posting here. I’ll be sharing some work but only a couple times a week rather than the usual three to four. Things will pick up again after June 16.
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