video to fishcamp

Video Trip to Fishcamp, Eaglet Hatchlings: The World is Born Again

“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.”  --T.S. Eliot

We  arrived at our fishcamp island yesterday, an island  off the west coast of Kodiak Island.  While tearing around local stores gathering supplies for the summer,  I ran into several people who chirped, “Oh, you must be so excited you’re going out to fishcamp!”  I tilted my head, considered their excitement, but said it anyway, “It’s my 37th season.”  “Oh,” each person said, disappointed. And suddenly I feel old. Just a little bit used up. 

Which then made me feel guilty. Why wasn’t I more excited to leave Kodiak and spend the whole summer on a gorgeous wilderness, albeit cold and rainy island surrounded by mammals and fish most people only see in documentaries? It’s a good life. But I've seen so much. I know it deeply, intimately. It takes a lot to surprise me out here.

If we’re lucky, we live on this earth seven or eight decades. How do we keep our eyes wide and young? We know what happens to the old. They grow tired and bitter. They've seen so  much. They know life deeply, intimately. They‘re not up for any more surprises. I understand this.

I fly out into the rain under heavy skies, ride a cold open skiff pounding in metal seas to an island where I have lived—and died---a thousand times over. Where my husband and I have dug out a well, built a house, dug water lines,  hunted deer, raised six children, picked millions of salmon . ..  A place of many injuries; a place I have wandered alone in despair; a place where I have loved hard and worshipped hard. After all these years, is it possible to still see anew? Is it possible to see this island as God sees it?

"It is possible that God says every morning to the sun 'Do it again,' and every evening 'Do it again' to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike. It may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy: for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." (G.K. Chesterton)

Today is my third day here. I'm starting to get excited. I found the eaglets yesterday, maybe ten days old, their just-hatched down still electric, alive. I watch them every year, from hatchling to hulking adolescence, and still this year I gape like a child, wondrous. 

I am ready to explore and know this place again for the first time. I am ready to bake stacks of bread, to sprint to the outhouse, to gut and fillet fish, to mend net beside the ocean, to finger berries into a bucket, to feed the hungry at my long table, to pick salmon from the waters.  

I hope you will come with me again---though some of you have been on this island tracking my steps before. Can we make all things new? Can we ourselves be made new? 

Yes. Yes! If we are willing, our older eyes shall see summer burst upon our houses and our lives again. And we shall lift our infant faces and our tongues to watch and praise----for the first most glorious time.

Are you with me? What do your infant eyes see in your corner of glory?