When winter rolls into Wisconsin, Riponite George Beduhn’s mind begins to wander northward, dipping into a memory he holds close.
George is floating on Bristol Bay, at the edge of the Bering Sea off Alaska.
He’s on his family’s 32-foot salmon boat, and it’s sunset.
The sun is dropping low on one of those perfect, glassy evenings on the bay.
Only, this time, it’s better than ever.
“The way the sun and the clouds went together” were just right, he said, drifting into his synapses.
The water gleamed silver, he recalls. Not just a nice reflection of silver, but so silvery he believed that he could dip a cup in, and pull out a liquid bonanza.
“And the clouds were just golden,” George said. “It was my favorite sunset I’ve seen.”
That’s what George thinks about when he imagines his time on Bristol Bay fishing for sockeye salmon.
Not the sometimes stormy seas that threaten to pull an unwary soul into the water.
Not the gruelling hours manning the nets in all weather and at any odd time.
Not the weeks away from shore.
It’s a brutal life he chooses each summer.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Read the full story in the Oct. 3, 2013 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.