Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If I could do whatever I want. . .

which I cannot, I'd be sort of a nomadic hunter gatherer.

I suspect a lot of men actually feel that way. Which is probably why its a good thing that we can't really do that.  Not much else would really get done, and in a nation which is now as densely populated as ours, we can't really do that.  Or, rather, we can to some extent, but only to some extent.  And only some people, for that matter.  Most people are doomed to exist in the cubicle jungle until they retire to watch the game show network.

Be that as it may, that's what I'd do.  I'd start off in the Spring planting a big garden, which I used to in fact do.  My father did that before me.  I'd have it mostly all planted before Easter.

 Vegetable garden, Palmer Alaska.

When we did that, we usually had enough of some things to make it clear through to the nearly the next Spring, after we harvested in the Fall.  Potatoes and onions, for example, can keep fairly well. When my father did the garden, he did have some things that made it all year long, as he froze some things, like peas, but frankly I never liked the taste of home frozen peas much, and I never learned how to can anything at home and probably would not take it up.  When I was a kid, the few people who did something like that usually had products that made me a bit leery.

Starting about that time of year, you can start to fish around here too.  Indeed, you can start to fish earlier, so I suppose that should have been first, as you can ice fish.  When I was a little kid my father took me ice fishing occasionally, but only occasionally. Even though he was a big fisherman, he didn't ice fish much and at that time it seemed only the really fanatic ice fishermen had the equipment for it.  We simply chopped a hole in the ice with a shovel and axe.

Starting a couple of years ago, however, my daughter and I took it up, and we really like it. This past year we were skunked as the winter turned warm and the big lakes iced off really quickly, which is frankly disturbing.  But in a normal year, you can ice fish, so I guess I'd start here with that.

Yep, that's me.  Ice fishing a couple of years ago, photo by my daughter.  And yes, I know that hat is huge. And yes, it's Russian, a gift from a coworker who'd gone to Russia.

Anyhow, by Spring you can fish the streams and rivers, which I'd do.

Spring also sees Spring Bear Season, and I usually get a license, although I never get a bear.  I don't have the patience for baiting a bear, and instead usually sort of stumble around the woods, if I go bear hunting, or otherwise just have a license in case I stumble upon a bear.

Now, and I suppose somewhat relevant given the entire flap over "Cecil", the Zimbabwean lion, if I got a bear, I'd have it packed to eat.  I'm told it tastes like pork but having never eaten bear, I can't say if that's correct.  But that's what I'd do, should I ever get one.

I have a better chance of getting a turkey, and I usually get a Spring Turkey license as well, although the past few years I haven't seen a turkey feather during turkey season.  I see them all the time otherwise, but not during the season.  An Easter turkey sounds good to me.

Otherwise I'd fish and tend my garden. And when warm enough, I'd take up camp trailer up to the high country a couple of days at a time, and fish there.

About July 15, I'd tow that camper up to Alaska for the salmon run, and I'd fish that.  I'd go for halibut too, if I could make it affordable. I'd even think of getting a skiff if I could think of a way to keep it or tow it economically.  Nomads have to make things work economically.  An Alaskan sport fisherman can take two halibut per year, and more salmon.  I'd pack them in my trailer and I imagine that I could rig up a small freezer to make sure nothing was wasted. About August 1, I'd start my slow way home, fishing in the Yukon and British Columbia, until I made it back.

Somebody would have to watch my garden in that interim, obviously.

The bird seasons here start on September 1, and the antelope season only shortly after that. Then there's deer and elk.  In other worlds a years worth of red meat to take between September 1 and late October. And I'd harvest the garden.

Hunting elk.

Waterfowl and rabbits finish out the hunting seasons, and rabbit now runs until March 1, which is definitely a winter month here.  But probably starting in January I'd spend some time repairing stuff, working in my shop, reading, and writing.

Not a very socially redeemable existence?  Perhaps not.

And not one that my wife would want to do either, I'm pretty sure.  Not only would she not want to be a nomad for part of the year in our camp trailer, she probably wouldn't want to be the substitute farmer in the summer, in part because she's been a real farmer, which I have not been.  There's no romance in farming, in her view.

And a small dream at that.  No achievement of great political victories.  No reformation of the world.  No generalship of warring armies. No taking the all time home run record in the major league.

And not even that stuff that I hear of people doing, or occasionally actually see them doing.  No setting up a volunteer legal clinic to help veterans, or the indigent.  No working at the law office until you simply can't.  No volunteering at the soup kitchen.  

And not even any career oriented ones.  No "winning the big case".  No being appointed to be the district court judge.  I've won the big case more than once, and I'll try more and hopefully win  more. But I've been there and done that, to where that's part of the whoop and wharf of my existence, not something a person dreams of doing as part of their daily existence.  And I've applied now three times for the district court slot, having been encouraged to do it twice by outsiders, and didn't receive it, so I've put that past my career expectations and that's okay really, as I'm awfully darned opinionated and not inclined to keep my opinions to myself.  Not that this means I'm going to head out of the office and get on the road.  Rather, however, like most lawyers who have practiced a decade or more, the thrill of litigation and of being a court combatant has been replaced by being something more akin to a human factors engineer, which is closer to what we really do.

And while I'm a writer, I don't have that "write the definitive work on the Punitive Expedition", or "write that great historical novel on the Punitive Expedition" (while such a novel is something I'm working on), listed here.  I'd keep writing, to be sure, but even at that, it'd be just part of what I'd do.

I suppose it all speaks ill of me really.

But then, while some of those things have kicked around in my head from time to time, as they do with everyone, I'm not going to get any of those done, but I do hunt and fish, etc., and perhaps at this point the small unachievable dreams mean more than the big ones.  Perhaps they always did.


Rich said...

That sounds an awful lot like my plan if I ever actually enter and win the lottery, except that I'd also include some bowhunting, a couple of bird dogs and some pheasant hunting, and a little bass fishing since I grew up eating farm pond caught largemouths and that's the type of fish I like to eat.

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

"If I actually enter and win the lottery".

Sounds like my approach to that as well.

I suspect a lot of people, well probably more accurately a lot of men, feel this way if they care to admit it to themselves.