Birds, fish, flowers, plants, berries, animals, insects, trees, people. There is so much about Alaska that is unlike anywhere else, and I want to know about it all, and experience it all. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that I have as long as I want here, whether it be another 5 years, or a lifetime. I don't have to rush my experiences here. I'm not a tourist anymore. I had to remind myself that I could pace myself while I was in the bookstore today. Angie and I are going berry picking near Whittier on Sunday on the Horsetail Falls and Portage Pass trails so I wanted to get yet another book on wildberries. I purchased the Alaska Wild Berry Guide and Cookbook. But, true to my addiction of not being able to stop at just one book, I also purchased Wildflowers Along the Alaska Highway to add to the book I purchased a few weeks ago, Alaska’s Wild Berries and Berry Like Fruits. If money were no consideration, I would have purchased the dozen other books I wanted about mushrooms, fishing in Alaska, camping spots, trees and plants, hiking trails and Native Alaskan indian tribes. I've really got to get a library card!
I'm going to create a list of all that I want to see and do and break it down by season and year to focus my learning aspirations and activity goals. I want to smoke salmon (after learning about all the types of salmon, spawning seasons, fishing spots and habits of the fish, of course); I want to see more of the state (from Ketchikan to Barrow, which takes just a tad bit longer than a weekend); I want to learn to recognize animal tracks when I see them in the wilderness; I want to know all the names of all the plants, animals and trees around me so that if I had to, I could survive and not end up eaten or poisoning myself. I want to know about the people that inhabit this wonderful land, from the ancient inhabitants to the interesting folk on the Anchorage streets. I want it all NOW. I know that isn't realistic, however. There has to be a happy medium, a learning curve, a doing curve. I've also got to work, handle daily responsibilities of raising a child, pay bills, and enjoy the luxuries of being "civilized" and not having to live off of the land. I'm not ready to move into the bush quite yet, but I want to know everything I would need to know if I ever wanted to.
The happy medium this weekend, this month, this summer, is just to learn about the berries in Alaska (there are 50 types) and how to make jellies and jams from berries and flowers that most people I talk to, people who have been here for most of their lives, have no idea about (which totally surprises me). If I can do that, then I'll be one step closer to achieving my goal of knowing everything I want to know about Alaska. I will never know everything, but I'll do my darndest to learn as much as I can.