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June 12, 2012: Missing Pete

I love you not for who you are, but who I am when I’m by your side.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It’s Tuesday. On Sunday Pete took off with his friend Michael for Chitina in order to go dip net fishing for salmon – for Copper Reds. Rumor had it that this was to be the largest run ever. Pete, hearing Michael say this, cancelled out of a solar energy class that he was to take this week.

Pete went over to Michael’s early that morning. That afternoon, they returned so that Pete could drop off Sputnik, our pick-up truck. They pulled up in Michael’s rig – he has a camper. Behind it was a sled boat with a new motor. The two were both really excited about their upcoming adventure. Michael, grinning, showed me his new tee-shirt. Black, with a green shamrock, it read: Lucky Fishing Shirt: Don’t Wash.

There was a part of me that wished that I was going with, because I like road trips. But there was another part of me that was glad to remain here. The job description requires that one be able to think fast, and get the heavy, thrashing creatures into the boat. And then you have to be able to kill them. I know full well that I could not kill a salmon. They are amazing creatures who swim great distances – I cannot, and will never be able to clobber them before they reach their destination. I’d catch them on one side, and then release them over the other. Huh. That’d go over really well – most likely, I’d then get tossed into the river.

This morning, Pete called and said that he and Michael had caught 23 fish each, that is just over half of their allotment. Pete and I talked about his staying another day, with both of us agreeing that this would be a good idea. There is little sense in going all that ways and not limiting out.

I didn’t say to Pete that I hoped he’d come home sooner—but the thought did cross my mind. We have a lot going on here and I cannot, in his absence,

Michael and his boat on the Copper River

Michael and his King

Many people dip net from the shore

keep up with it all. But more importantly, I miss him something awful when we’re apart. In this respect, the above quote is apt. I’m just a calmer, less obsessive, and far more giving person when Pete’s around.

So I will wait this one out, keeping myself busy so that I don’t think too much about his being away. And when he gets back, we’ll both have some pretty interesting stories – and a cooler full of fish to clean, can, and smoke.

Next: 187. 06/13/12: Fish