Each season has it's sounds. Each season has it's beginning and end. Each season has it's feeling of the weather and the "change" in the air. All of the wild creatures react to these changes.
Fall is the time of the moose and caribou rutting. It is the time you hear the grunting and the slashing of the bulls as they compete for dominance. It is the clashing of large antlers as the big bulls battle for the right to propagate the species.
It is the long moans of the cows as they search for the dominant bull.
The wilderness is alive with the calls of the ducks and geese as they prepare for their long journey south.
The bears are finishing off every edible salmon, grass, and berries before the land is covered in snow and ice.
I think my favorite sound is the song of the loons on an unnamed lake.
Too much of our lives are taken up in the struggle with mortgages and the never ending battle with paying the bills.
It seems that we spend most of our time trying to find happiness and peace in a world that has neither.
I guess most folks define happiness as the things they can acquire, which never will fill the void.
Too soon we get old and find that we have missed the opportunity to find what we have fought so hard to get.
I learned as a youth that most of who I am could be found in the wilderness.
I always felt more at home in the mountains. I always felt more accepted in the wilderness.
Wild places never required me to act a certain way, or to be a certain way. It always allowed me to fit in and flow with the way wild critters lived.
I learned very young HOW to fit in without having to change the way the winds of the wild spirits would blow.
There is nothing about the ways of nature that I would change.
Most town folks will never understand what I'm talking about. Most town folks are happy with being around other town folks. Most town folks also seldom stop and enjoy a sunset.
How sad it is to live out your life depending on others for your happiness.
The wilderness has never let me down. It has never left me feeling unfulfilled. It has never failed to bring the inner peace and quietness of my spirit. The wilderness will find me at peace with myself and my Creator.
Fall always finds me camped in the mountains for many weeks.
Fall is the time I fill my freezer with moose meat. It is the time I gather firewood for the long, cold Alaskan nights ahead.
I actually look forward to the challenge of survival through the long months of winter.
I am at my best preparing for these challenges. I haven't let health issues stop me or slow me down much.
This year has been tough and probably would have stopped most. I had a 4 pound cancerous kidney removed along with 14 inches of cancerous colon.
I went on to get the set nets out a few weeks later and catch the salmon for four families.
I have all of the clams in the freezer for winter that I dug with a belly full of stitches.
Lin and I have several gallons of berries that we picked during moose camp.
A lot of folks enjoy the opera or the latest movie. We would rather share a berry patch with a bear.
Today the leaves have turned to their fall colors. Today I felt a crispness in the air. It was like the air was thinner with the promise of heavy frosts ahead. Today the "change" was definitely in the air. Soon the rains of late summer will give away to the quietness of blowing snow.
Soon the colors of fall will give away to the soft white blanket of winter.
Soon the only sounds will be the mournful howling of the wolf pack on it's winter nights hunt.
The ducks and geese will be long gone to their wintering grounds in the south.
Alaska will be buried in long months of darkness and ice.
The tourists will be home smoking on their exhaust pipes and we will be sitting around the fireplace drinking hot chocolate.
It will be a time for reflecting on the year gone past and plans for the new life of spring.
We will be pouring over maps in search of new moose hunting camps. Already we are talking about moose season next fall. Already we are putting plans together for family meetings to get ready for next fall.
Soon the lakes will be frozen over several feet thick. Soon we will load up our fishing gear and heading back into the bush on ice fishing adventures. Soon we will be living the adventures that others can only dream about.
Tonight I look out over the Kenai River Valley into the falling darkness. The Alpine glow of the Kenai Mountains has finally gone from pinkish purple to the long shadows of an Alaskan night.
I can't help but to feel fortunate to be here on my mountain. I can't help but to feel very blessed for our log home and the warmth of our fire and friends. The thought of being somewhere else would be unthinkable.
We are ready for the challenge of the long Alaskan winter. We are ready for the temperatures to fall well below zero. We are ready to watch the snow falling around the house and down into the river valley below.
We are ready to snuggle up under the down blanket and feel secure. We are ready for all the fury and beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. We are ready!