Friday, July 01, 2005

Inquiring Minds Ask

Billy D. asks:
How is Alaska treating you? I've always wanted to visit, do some fishing. Beautiful country. I've heard there's a reasonable amount of intolerance toward Christians. True?

A Christian in Alaska will see no difference in attitudes than he saw in Michigan, Colorado, or Montana. Especially in a large city like Anchorage. I suspect that a liberal cesspool like Juneau might harbor intolerant anti-Christian bigots, but probably not any worse than Boulder, CO.

We have lots of small churches, meduim churches, and some very large successful churches that impact the area. The second largest Christian church in Anchorage seems to draw the ire of the left routinely, but I suspect that that is because they are Baptists and are in 'your face' enough to push the comfort zones of the unchurched. The largest church here seems to fly below the radar, but everyone knows of it and appreciates all that they do.

Maybe the Babtists take the brunt in the roll of bad cop while the other big church plays good cop.

All in all, it is easy to be a Christain in Alaska.

Plan "A" was for [wife] and I to have children by the time she was 40. Plan "A" ran out of time and we moved to AK to implement Plan "B" also known as 'buy a plane and goof off.' For ten years we told our selves that we didn't want to adopt, but when a child was handed to us, our hearts had a different answer.

Now [son] will be turning 3 at the end of August. He is built like me and looks like her. [Son] looks more like his grandfather than any of his other 17 grandchildren.

The fishing here is great. Last fish I caught in the lower 48 was almost 20 years ago and had 4-6 golfball sized white tumors on it. With a gag, I lost all desire to fish.

Moving to AK, where the water is clean, I was exited about the thought of fishing. First time in 20 years I'd really thought about fishing and I was excited. I've since fished Salmon in glacial rivers 30' wide, not really thinking about what was bumping into my legs, unable to see into the water due to the glacial silt.

Far up the river the glaciers are grinding the mountians into microscopic dust. This silt turns the rivers grey and provides the 'scent' for the salmon to return home from wherever in the Pacific that they travel.

Tributaries flowing clear runoff also flow into the bigger rivers. This clear water flows downstream in swirls and eddies providing vision, through the water and silt, similar to what Superman's x-ray vision must be like in the presence of a lot of Kryptonite. You get a glimpse through the water and then it's gone, but the glimpse is all you need to realize that those bumps on your legs are salmon. Hundreds of salmon swimming upstream.

Once you start looking at the salmon in the clear water, you realize that they breach the surface of the river with thier dorsal fins occasionally. Out across the river there are hundreds of dorsal fins breaching. There must be thousands of salmon swimming upstream.

Civilization exists in a distant universe. Knowing that you are not the highest predator on the food chain keeps your senses sharp. The sun and the wind bring you home to the best memories of your childhood.

Hours pass, the sun is high promising hours of good fishing, but that world was contaminated by technology from this one. Foolishly one of us had a watch an it activated a virus that had lain dormant. It was after 11:00 and past time to go. There will be other days.

The best river fishing is remote places accessable by float or bush plane. The shoulder-to-shoulder 'combat fishing' in the public access places is acceptable.

Panning for gold is fun to think about, but in reality very frustruating since I've found none. I've struck out at known placer gold deposits where others I know always find some. I think what really frustruates me is not knowing where the gold hides rather than not finding any.

My day job pays well and is as secure as a job can be nowadays. I also do some midnight engineering on aircraft modifications that pays much much better and may turn out to be a full time job.

The mountains are incredible here. My wife surprised me the first time that she told me that they are more beautiful than the mountians in Montana. She loves her old Montana mountains so much I never thought she'd betray them like this. But there they are in all their glory still streaked with snow today, July 5th.

I'd say that the greatest intolerance in AK is the attitudes the natives have towards each other. The Klinket hate the Inuit almost as much as the Zulu hate the Sotho bloods hate the crips. The worst thing you can do to a native is mistake them for another tribe.

The first year we were up here, we were working the nursury at church and met a woman who spoke with an accent. Turns out she was 1/2 Russian, 1/2 native, but looked fully European-American. [Wife] says "You don't look Eskimo." I don't think her reaction would have been much different if [wife] had said "You don't look like a retarded Pollock."

Nah, Billy D. Alaska is more like a colony than a state, but it draws some of the best traits from the U.S. Christians are welcome, and if you like the outdoors, it is wonderful.