WC ‘Fesses Up


The worst kind of rumor, a true one

The worst kind of rumor, a true one

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.

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9 thoughts on “WC ‘Fesses Up

  1. Good luck with the move. I’m sure it’s a stressful process but you’ll get through it. Mia and I both hope to see the two of you occasionally now.

  2. Best wishes to you and Mrs, WC! I am glad the blog will still go on. I look forward to more birding adventures. Go Magpies!

  3. Looking forward to whatever the blog transforms into. Good luck on your move. Though I’ve never even been to Alaska, yours is one of my go to reading blogs. Sometimes intriguing, always intelligent, and a breath of fresh air. I say this as one who lives in the middle of a defiantly red, belligerently anti-intellectual piece of Southern Oregon.

  4. I wish you all the best in your new adventure! Glad to hear that you’ll have more birding opportunities and that you will continue to share them with us.

  5. I’ve enjoyed following your blog, WC, and hope to continue. I’ve been dreaming about Alaska for years, so it’s a little sad to hear you want to leave. Your rationale, however, makes sense. Not sure about Boise, though, as I was there last week, enroute to Oregon, and got to experience the 108F. Perhaps somewhere in Oregon would have gotten you close enough for Mrs. WC to visit. We have lived in Corvallis for 25 years, and still don’t have A/C (although this week of 97-100 has me wondering).
    I found your blog while researching my family’s Alaska connection. My Great Grandfather brought the first steamboat up the Tanana and into the Chena River, on his Yukon Gold Rush, October 1898. They gave up their quest in spring 1899 and sold their steamship, the Tanana Chief, to a captain who used her as a mail steamer. A few years later, Judge Wickershan hired the steamer to take him up the Kantishna, on the way to his attempt on My. McKinley. Learning of this, I had to read his memoir, and fell in love with him. Casting about to learn more about Wickersham, I found your blog.
    Right away, I loved both your bird photography and your “conscience”. Your writing style and political humor also remind me of another favorite writer/lawyer of mine: my son. He’s just finishing law school, but I dare say your conscience mirrors his.
    So….best of luck with your move, and I’ll be watching for your posts to continue!

  6. Are you sure? You’re moving to a beautiful state, but it is known as Nazi Land. I hope it works out well for both of you. Will you take your birds with you? As I recall, you have a couple of owls at the very least.

    • Boise is a reasonably liberal town, but you are right that it is surrounded by Idaho. The worst areas are up in the northern third, a fair distance from Boise.

      The two big owls – the Great Gray and the Horned – we’re relocated to Bird TLC in Anchorage last year. The ancient little Boreal Owl will be moving to a new home in Fairbanks, with a vet in fact.

      /WC

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