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A crisis in the offing

Posted: June 3, 2011 - 8:22am

From what I’ve observed, we humans want to avoid all crises. Governments and corporations pay good money for “crisis avoidance” plans. To me, this seems wacky. From what I’ve observed, we don’t consider our lives complete unless a good crisis is brewing.

I maintain that crisis is good, or at least not all bad. With the possible exception of the much-studied mid-life crisis, which turned out to be mainly an excuse for middle-aged men to buy red convertibles and date young blondes, we’re at our best during a crisis. Heroes, the ultimate “best” of us, wouldn’t get to be heroes without some crisis or another.

In an attempt to help readers to be at their best, I take this opportunity to point out that we’re fast-approaching a major crisis, the middle of July.

Mid-July happens every year, so you’d think we’d be ready for it. But no. The sockeye run is peaking and our waders are leaking. The Kenai kings are running strong, and the outboard is running on one cylinder. Friends from Outside are arriving, and we’ve made no plans for where they’ll sleep. During this frenzied, skinny window of time, these and myriad other details go wanting.

The worst part of this crisis is not a lack of anything, but an excess. There are simply too many choices for going places and doing things. If you’ve waited until mid-July to decide, you’ve waited too long. The reasons for this crisis include:

  • July is when the weather most likely will be user-friendly.
  • Baitfish become more numerous in easily accessible marine waters due to warming water temperatures in late July, bettering the chances that salmon and halibut will be in those waters.
  • In late July, the late runs of both king and sockeye salmon peak in the Kenai River, triggering a rush by frantic anglers to catch these fish before they escape upstream to relative safety.
  • Dip-netting for sockeyes at the mouth of the Kenai, a hugely popular fishery in which about 100,000 salmon are caught each year, runs from July 10 through July 31.
  • The peak sockeye harvest for dip-netters at the mouth of the Kasilof River happens between July 11 and July 21.
  • Saltwater fishing from a boat in Cook Inlet or Gulf of Alaska waters in late July can be outstanding, with the possibility of harvesting halibut, silver salmon, king salmon, rockfish, lingcod and Pacific cod on a single outing from Homer or Seward.
  • The wilderness, wildlife and fishing along the Kenai Peninsula hiking trails and the Swanson River Canoe Trails beckon.

If you think you can somehow “manage” the July mid-month crisis, think again. When you’re torn between so many choices, when you hear the whine of outboards and the frenetic chatter along the rivers, when you sense desperation in the air and the panicky certainty that summer is fading fast, you’ll realize that there’s no avoiding this crisis.

Get used to the idea. Embrace it. Be the best you can be.

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