Surviving Kodiak's Heat Wave: And "I Want It All"


Who can account for a week in a life? What is the story of this week on Harvester Island? Eleven of us live, eating around the table, standing at fishing nets mending for days and days . .. An unprecedented heat wave—-in the mid-70’s here on Harvester for 10 days. (Over 90 in Anchorage. A first.) It’s a little scary to us . . .

(And I know all of you suffering with temps in the 90’s and over 100 can laugh at us wimps. We are wimps indeed . ..)

And me, what am I doing among all of this? I am rejoicing. THE BOOK (my 12th) is OFF to the publisher. I met the deadline, though sickness came to call just before and it seemed the whole tiny universe around me was conspiring to keep me from words. This is what it looks like to hit the “Send” button on a manuscript that was forged in the midst of sickness, personal heartache, and a busy fishcamp life.

Leslie----smiling with mss. in studio.jpg

And here is my studio, awash still in paper, words, sentences . …. .


Every book finished is some kind of miracle. At the nearly-finished line, I’m sure I am not the only one relieved and breathing easier (though my breath is held in reservation until I hear back from my editor . .).

I think God is probably relieved as well: No more daily whimpering from Leslie!

How do you rejoice and celebrate on Harvester Island? You go climb trees with your son. Oh good day——this was one of the happiest moments in my week. (I spent half my childhood up in trees.)

Leslie + Micah in alders.jpeg

And——You cut up fish! Here, a 40 pound king salmon my daughter brought in.


I don’t need words now. Just hands. Just knives. Just eyes.

Leslie cutting up king--2019.jpeg
king salmon meat---pattern.jpeg


But play is over. The Spirit of Food workshop begins next week with so many friends coming! And we have a new classroom and bedrooms to finish., menus to plan, and a thousand other things.

I am greedy, I know. I am greedy. I am tired. But I cannot stop. As Rilke writes in the poem below, “Maybe I want it all.”

You see, I want a lot.

Maybe I want it all:

The darkness of each endless fall,

The shimmering light of each ascent.


So many are alive who don’t seem to care.

Casual, easy, they move in the world

As though untouched.


But you take pleasure in the faces

Of those who know they thirst.

You cherish those

Who grip you for survival.


You are not dead yet, it’s not too late

To open your depths by plunging into them

And drink in the life

That reveals itself quietly there.


---Rainer Maria Rilke


fishermen leaving in skiffs-2019.jpeg

Will you keep gripping God for survival?

We are not dead yet.

Let us keep thirsting together.

So gratefully,