Just more than a half a year ago, feeling confident, I finally posted what was next, or so I thought.
In brief, last fall I set my sights on returning to school, ideally in Anchorage, by this coming fall. The plan was to go for a masters in environmental science, and 7 months ago I was coming home every night after work studying up for the GRE which I planned to take in December.
The wheels seemed to be in motion.
Things changed though, perhaps unsurprisingly.
Let me start with one of the more benign, though also more expected of those.
After my first summer, I was well and ready to get out of the central Kenai Peninsula. There were a number of things I didn't like about the area, and still wasn't 100 percent set on Alaska anyway.
I thought Anchorage was a more ideal place to reside for a number of reasons I don't need to go into right now.
Through my first winter, I still looked up Cook Inlet to the city as the place I thought I'd like to end up, and sometimes would have rather been.
I knew however, that as my network of friends and acquaintances grew, I'd slowly grow more attached.
I don't know for sure if there was ever an exact point, or an 'aha' moment, but I know for sure that sometime last fall I just realized I like it here, it's way nicer than Anchor-town.
Now this isn't to say that Big Wild Life is a bad place, nor is this area perfect; but I've grown very accustomed to many of this town's luxuries and its idiosyncrasies.
I knew though that all of that would happen, and like it or not, I may yet have to leave here some day anyhow.
Something else happened that was far more unexpected though, and that developed at work. The office underwent new leadership last fall, and suddenly I was getting challenged with my work again.
I'm going to step lightly around this matter, but the bottom line is, for the first time in a long time I was producing copy that I felt good about, and that was motivating.
I suddenly had a hard time convincing myself that I didn't want what I had and I needed a change.
Lastly, amid all of this, a very influential friend, who made a very recent visit, was also questioning my decisions and causing me to think extra hard about whether what I was giving up was worth what I'd gain.
By late October, my GRE book had been pushed aside on my reading table; John Haine's "Living off the Country" rested atop it.
So now what?
Well, that's a question that I've been asking since then.
For now, the plan is still to go back to fish camp life in early June through late August.
After that, the plan is to return to the Clarion. That part, however, is not guaranteed. The Clarion will likely do some looking around in my absence, and it's understood that I may do the same.
There more than a good chance we'll meet back in the middle though.
For now it's reassuring that I'll probably be spending yet another winter in this quiet chunk of mountains and forests thrust into the sea.
Long range, plans will continue to take shape, disintegrate, reform, rinse and repeat.