Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Land of the Midnight Sun

I'm looking for any and all diversions this week; bear with me. Bear. Ha, that's...nevermind.

We have this weird fascination for Alaska. Neither of us has ever been there, but we're a little obsessed with the idea of it and if there is ever something about it on the telly, odds are we're going to watch it. Which reminds me - if any of you watch DeadliestCatch, Season 5 starts next month (Yay!)but as of my last check on the Discovery Channel website (yes, I've been checking daily - what?) they haven't listed a start date yet. A show about crab fishing in the Bering Sea - me? Yes. I love it. I made the mistake of watching a marathon a few years ago and have been hooked (pun totally intended) ever since. I may or may not even have a crush on one or two or all of the fishermen.

Last night Brian told me he'd taped something he thought we might like. It's called Alone in the Wilderness, a documentary about a 51-year-old man who went to Alaska in 1968 to see if he could live there by himself for one year and documented his daily life with a camera and a journal. His name is Richard Proenneke and here is the badass himself:
Not only did he live quite well for that year, he liked it so much he ended up living the next THIRTY-FIVE years there. By himself. He made his own tools. He built his own cabin. He grew and caught his own food. The dude was amazing, and if you ever get a chance to check out the movie or his book, (and oh, we will be getting the book, trust me)I highly recommend it.

I guess what we like about people like this is that they kind of put things into perspective a little bit. Here we are, worried about the economy, caught up in whatever little dramas we all have, (some of which we create for ourselves), stressed out over work or family or whatever. People like this who have the balls to say, You know what? I quit this bitch. And then actually follow through with it; it's just absolutely amazing to me. I'm jealous of that ability. He narrates the documentary and at one point when he's done HAND BUILDING HIS LOG CABIN, he says, Falling asleep to the sound of the river rushing by is the best sleeping pill in the world.I believe you, buddy.

Brian watches things like that with obvious lust in his soul. I could almost hear what he was thinking last night as we watched. I know he'd love to try something like that, even if only for a few months. The closest he's ever had to pure and complete happiness from a job was when he did commercial fishing, NOT in Alaska, down in South Florida, but still. I dealt with being apart for days, sometimes weeks at a time because I knew how much he loved it, for almost a year. I wish there was a way for him to do it again, of course without the separation part. A lot of people said he was being kind of selfish to do it. Maybe. All I know is it's a pleasure to see your spouse that happy all the time. I would've felt selfish had I not agreed to let him do it.

I fervently hope someday we'll take a trip to Alaska. Yes, that sounds a little crazy but it's totally true. I think the closest we'll ever come is the tentative cruise Johnann and I are planning for some year in the future. It might take ten years to save and plan for it, but it can be done. Something crazy too: many years ago (I want to say the fifties), one of my dad's older relatives bought property there. Supposedly. We've never been able to locate any deed or anything to prove that; it was just something people in the family would bring up from time to time. I never used to care, but now? Damn. Could you imagine though if I ever found this evidence? Gah! Who knows, then; all bets would be off. I might just have to say I quit this bitch; I'm out! Governor, tell your teenage daughter to get ready to party and get a babysitter for the bastard grandchild because here we come!


Taoist Biker said...

Hell yeah, Dutch Harbor in full effect! Cornelia Marie for the win, bitches! \m/ \m/

(I'm excited.)

I swear I got a broadcast email when I was an undergrad offering winter or spring break work on the processing boats. They made it sound good at the time. Hah!

Now? I admire the hell out of the men that do it, but I have no illusions. When I was 20, I might have survived it, but I never would have made a living doing it. Now that life would break me in half.

(So. What I really want to know is, are Rick and the Maverick coming back? I missed them last year. Yeah, Blake is a putz but Rick always seemed a great guy.)

Kim said...

TB - AWWWW YEAH! I'm sorry, I get very excited when I find fellow DC lovers!
I too wondered what the hell happened to the Maverick, but yes Blake got on my damn nerves.
I hope Phil's health has improved since we last saw him; that had me very worried.
Oh, man. You just got me even more excited. The countdown begins as soon as I hear what the damn date will be.

LL Cool Joe said...

Yeah there's a big part of me that would love to live that life. I listen to all these people around me worrying about their jobs and down sizing and stuff, and I can't help but feel that I really wouldn't care. All this stuff we accumulate around us means Sweet FA really.

I think it's great that you give your spouse that amount of freedom, and as long as you get the same, it's all good.

Kim said...

LL - I think it takes a brave person to give up all material stuff and do something like that and to be honest, I don't know if I have it in me. It's nice to think about though. I admire anyone who does it.

Swistle said...

I loved books like The Boxcar Children and My Side of the Mountain, where people had to learn to make a life in the outdoors. But I myself am a chilly, bug-fearing wuss, so I just read about it and watch it on TV.

Kim said...

Swistle - The show last night made me get out my Little House on the Prarie books because him building the log cabin reminded me of Pa. I need to look into the books you just mentioned.

crisitunity said...

I envied the Boxcar Children children because they lived on their own, with no stupid rotten grownups around to keep them from doing whatever they wanted to do. A book I liked a lot when I was a kid about survival out in the woods is The Summer I Was Lost.

Um. I hate to be the party pooper here, but I'm willing to bet that for every dude who goes out and Waldens it up successfully for 35 years, building his own cabin etc., there are a couple of people who try this kind of lifestyle change and don't make it. Those people don't get books published - I think they just return home spent, perhaps permanently injured, moneyless, and broken.

I've thought before about making a break from my current life and taking a long trip to India or somewhere like that, depending on my wits and sleeping on people's floors, but I think it would make me crazy after a pretty short time. And I don't even like television.

Yeah, that was pretty negative. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Note to self: Hang about the docks and hook up with man who is out to sea most of the time.

Thanks! :o)

Go on an Alaskan cruise with me!

I watch the documentaries on Dian Fosse and know that if I went to Africa to count gorillas (and she had a doggie)...I would never want to come home. I'd probably get murdered just like she did for being a big mouth American, but after being there and getting to do the things she did? I seriously doubt if I could come back to this.

Kim said...

Heather - Alaskan cruise, MY DREAM!!! Let's do it! Especially if I'm not pregnant, because that would take my mind off of everything.
I cried myself into a migraine watching Gorillas in the Mist but I'm sure this doesn't surprise you.

Anonymous said...

Those day long marathon showings of these types of shows are what get me hooked. Normally, it'll be on a holiday weekend and we have them on all day.

Kim said...

Cris - I've added that book to the two others Swistle mentioned; I love books like this! And really I think you're probably estimating low on the number of people who try this and fail. I think a lot of people underestimate how hard something like giving up all material posessions and creature comforts really is. That's why I think it takes a really extraordinary type person for it. Most people are only ordinary. Including me.

MTAE - That's exactly how it was for me and this show; a long holiday weekend. That's all it took.

Dyskinesia said...

"I cried myself into a migraine watching Gorillas in the Mist but I'm sure this doesn't surprise you."

--ditto that.

And, baby, Edgar is the hottest thing walkin'. I'm just sayin'... *swoon*