Unhinged Alaska: The dawning of dusk

Once again we find ourselves beyond the autumn equinox where the sunset of summer continues its spiral deeper into the growing dusks of fall.

The raucous calls of gathering cranes have dwindled to the fading adieu echoes of stragglers as they soar toward southern climes deepening the silence spawned by the erstwhile departure of the birds of song.

The season of thundering herds of migrating tourists and frenzied hunts for the sea’s bounty seemed to have hurtled by this year.

It was just a few weeks ago that a buddy gave me a call from his boat while being pounded by so much rain he claimed he’d probably feel drier if he fell overboard.

He was fishing in about ninety feet of water trying to get four of his seasoned citizen in-laws into some flats when he spotted jumpers headed his way.

They were firing out of the water like popcorn exploding from an overheated skillet.

JT knew that the silvers would attack herring on circle hooks as long as the bait was at least smaller than a juvenile Beluga so he figured that it could be “game on” as they charged by.

He came very close to giving his “blatantly bored geezer guests” cardiac arrests when he suddenly started roaring for everyone to reel up to between twenty and thirty feet and then gently pump their rod tips in an attempt to entice strikes from the oncoming horde.

Momentary chaos ensued as of the two gents exploded out of their languor and started flailing away without reeling. The other duo somehow managed to entangle their lines while being on opposite sides of the boat.

“It wasn’t pretty,” my friend snorted. “But it would’ve been a wicked You Tube classic if I’d had a Go Pro.”

His visitors were able to chill enough to get their gear positioned before the small wave hit but seriously botched his primo instruction to let the fish run with the bait when they stuck so the circle hook could do its job.

Six electrifying take-downs. One fish landed, but his passengers had regressed to being twelve years old and spent the rest of the afternoon carrying on like kids during an extended recess.

The crew came up two flats shy of a boat limit with the biggest tagging the scale at twenty-eight pounds along with a couple not much bigger than the herring they hit.

JD said they were so pumped, that after 32 years of marriage to their sister, he might finally get a Christmas card from them even though he’s Democrat.

Things are much quieter now. Or were.

Tuesday: As I sit here trying to focus on a column deadline, my computer has suddenly and quite rudely interrupted the prose flow by interjecting multiple ominous storm warnings with a flashing screen.

The cyber shout outs claim that gale force winds may become so significant that our little mutt’s late evening ambulation will require a strong tether to keep her from being launched toward Seward. I’m not sure how she’ll react to the requirement of having to pee in midair but after her last rug mishap, she may have to fly like an eagle ‘til the job’s done.

Howard the Huge has no such worries. It would take a cat four hurricane to disrupt the accuracy of his three-legged relief stance on any target he chooses.

Wednesday: The tempest has passed and all is well.

The wind blasts were more detrimental to a sound sleep than roof lifting and the rains were less than torrential allowing our hounds the dignity of being able to amble or lumber to their objectives without a standby emergency rescue team.

Thursday: Things got a bit nasty last night after we were all safely ensconced in our bungalow when the midnight clouds suddenly burst like a colossal water balloon impaled on a bolt of lightning.

We have a metal roof and the wicked drumming sounded like a battle between several fanatical steel drum bands jazzed on some sort of exotic herb smoothies.

We weren’t too worried because logs float but the possibility of our cabin becoming a houseboat if the creek rose was somewhat unsettling.

Fortunately, the torrential downpour passed as quickly as the windstorm and we were left with the typical clogged culverts and various tree appendages scattered about like dismembered scarecrows.

Midafternoon the clouds fractured allowing the sun’s gaze to focus on the mountains across the bay shedding their blankets of grey.

The highest pinnacles attested to the fact that nature had done some thoughtful house cleaning during the hours of obfuscation and darkness.

Fresh silvery coverlets lay draped across the topmost ridges.

Excuse me while I ferret out our shovels…

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com

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