WC has lived in Alaska for more than sixty years. Since the fall of 1954, in fact. That’s a very long time. But there won’t be a 61st year. WC is moving. Leaving Alaska.
There’s a whole lot of reasons. Here are a few of them:
- As a bird photographer, WC just needs two things to be happy: birds to photograph and light with which to photograph them. Six months of the year, you don’t find very much of either one in interior Alaska.
- Alaska’s economic future is pretty grim. Our politicians aren’t being sensible. And while WC has done a lot of bankruptcy work, it’s not his favorite area of practice and it’s not very much fun when it involves your friends and neighbors.
- WC really does care about climate change. He drives a Prius. He has an energy-efficient home. But when you are keeping a house warm against outdoor temperatures of -40° F, you are going to burn a lot of fossil fuel. That’s a lot of CO2 launched into the atmosphere. As well, all that dark means a lot of electrical demand, and almost all our electricity is generated with fossil fuels.
- Forty years as a lawyer takes a lot out of you. It’s time to try something different.
- Mrs. WC has done 25 years or more in Alaska; it’s time for WC to spend some time in her home state, the Gem State, Idaho.
It wasn’t an impulsive decision. For the last few years we’ve been looking at alternatives. We’ve visited options from Ashland, Oregon to Missoula, Montana. We settled on Boise, Idaho, Mrs. WC’s hometown, partly for reasons of family, partly for reasons of familiarity, and partly because there are some truly amazing birding destinations a day’s drive or less from Boise.
Sure, there are downsides. Those would include Boise’s record-breaking 108° F temperature last week. WC will be huddling by the air conditioner. Which uses renewable hydroelectricity, by the way. And Boise is a moderately liberal, college town, but it is surrounded by Idaho, whose politics sometimes are more reactionary than Alaska’s.
So early this Fall, if events play out as planned, WC and Mrs. WC will be driving down the Alaska Highway, towing a U-Haul, looking for all the world like Jethro Clampett, migrating south with the birds.
It won’t be the end of Wickersham’s Conscience the blog – although there may be a hiatus for packing, travel and unpacking – but over time it may very well change the tone of the blog. Remember that magpie sensibility; there will be new things around that may grab WC’s attention.
But right now WC has to get back to his packing.