Mickey's Fish Camp at Ḵeishangita.aan--Red Alder Head Village
“Wrangell was a tranquil place. I never heard a noisy brawl in the streets, or a clap of thunder, and the waves seldom spoke much above a whisper along the beach.” ~John Muir
I’ve established a family fish camp in Wrangell, Alaska, Ḵaachx̱ana.áakʼw—Ḵaachx̱án’s Lake. I've named it Mickey’s Fish Camp after my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather; three generations of fishermen named “Mickey.” We recently built a smokehouse and will fish and participate in other subsistence activities in Wrangell next summer.
But what does this have to do with my writing? Well, this place, the landscape and the people, tell stories. I’m also collecting subsistence knowledge about the bays, rivers, and hills that have sustained my family in order to pass this knowledge to the next generation.
We are a multicultural family, intermarrying among the Tlingit. So the stories, poems, essays that I write have their roots in living at the fish camp. I’m going to spend summers there, living with the ocean at my feet.
“The tide-currents, the fresh driftwood, the inflowing streams, and the luxuriant foliage of the out-leaning trees on the shores make this resemblance all the more complete.”~ John Muir
Mickey’s Fish Camp is located near the Red Alder Village site, Ḵeishangita.aan—Red Alder Head, an early Tlingit village. We hope to build small workspace cabins on the lot, too, so we can host writers/artists who need time and space to create as well as participate in fish camp and community. So begins a new chapter in my life: living the fish camp dream, right next to the ocean, with a Kingfisher squawking nearby, a seal bobbing out front of camp, and ducks and whales, and salmon.
“Everything seems to settle into conscious repose. The winds breathe gently or are wholly at rest. The few clouds visible are downy & luminous & combed out fine on the edges. Gulls here & there, winnowing the air on easy wing…” ~ John Muir