Sunday, July 2nd, 2017
It seems sometimes, especially when one is young, that an Alaskan summer is never really over; that it goes on and on, a neverending continuum from the first Dena’ina fishermen on the wide Kenai river down to the modern young man or woman, hiking home through the woods with the promise of ice cream and a cold drink held before them. As I lie writing this, I am nineteen; old enough to do grown-up things, such as bargain with the Internal Revenue Service or pay for my own gasoline, but young enough that I do not really want to, and would much rather climb a tree, or read a book, or do both at the same time.
It is true, of course, that even when fully an adult, without the ability to call oneself a teen-ager, most people I have met still have little desire to do adult things; they seem more to have ungracefully accepted them as a part of life, something I have never aspired to do.
As another long Alaska summer day draws toward a close, I stare out the window of our old motor home, meditating on life and living. This evening has been the first of three days, in total, spent at the summer camp that my family attends each year. We have been coming for over a decade now, a longer time than any other family, and in fact longer than many members of the staff, a fact which grants me some measure of familiarity and even prestige. I have, on occasion, gone places that no other except some staff members are allowed, and my long history has given me a greater knowledge of the twists and turns of the moose-paths and side trails than most others with whom I speak.
The evening meal was a quiet affair, for the number of camp attendees this year is surprisingly small, but it marked a reunion with an old friend, who like myself spent much of his formative years at this camp. After our repast and pleasant reminiscence, we parted ways, him to organize the staff members in his charge, and I toward the grassy field overlooking the waterfront. There I met two young women, whom I joined in hitting a volleyball back and forth.
The evening’s enjoyment came to an end perhaps a little over an hour later, as the four of us- for another had joined eventually, a young man with even less skill than I- went our separate ways.