I think I started down this path a few years ago after a long talk with the late Gov. Jay Hammond. During the course of the discussion he said, “There’s them that do and them that writes.”
He wasn’t talking about me, but the words stung anyway and afterward I asked myself if I was a writer or a doer. I’m probably a little bit of both, but the doing has been harder of late and I want to change that.
For the last 16 years it’s been my privilege to explore the great state of Alaska and share my discoveries with you, the readers of this magazine. Early on in the job, I decided to celebrate what is unique about Alaska, its wilderness, its beauty, its wildlife and its people while at the same time looking beyond the obvious to find the places that are rarely seen, talk with folks who are rarely heard, reveal challenges and issues that rarely see the light of day. I figured that if we Alaskans who staff the magazine can learn something new, if we are surprised by what we find when we put an issue together, so too will be the Alaskans and non-Alaskans who read Alaska magazine each month.
Thanks to the work of my talented colleagues and our regular contributors, we put together a magazine that we continue to be proud of. I’d like to say it’s been a tough job, but then I recall the many times it was hard to distinguish between work and play. The hard part usually came when I had to assign a story I really wanted to go and report myself.
When I did manage to get out of the office to write and shoot photos, I was never disappointed. Whether tagging along on a seal hunt, climbing a volcano, tracking wolves in a Supercub, running a dog team across a frozen lake or standing among the bones of people who inhabited the remote Aleutian Islands millennia ago, I can honestly say I never lost my awe for the place. I hope that was reflected in my writing.
Now it’s time to move on. I’m not leaving Alaska, just seeking a change.
So this will be a winter of rediscovery and more than a little writing: I’m working on a book I’ve been threatening to write for quite a while.
I’ll miss the job but I’m confident that the talented staff who remain will continue to put out an exciting and engaging magazine.
It’s been a great ride. Thank you for the opportunity to explore and share Alaska with you.