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Years ago, an astrologer did my chart. After plugging in when (July 10, 1952, 9:43 PM) and where (Orange, NJ) I was born, he came back with a personality profile. In astrological terms, it turns out I’m all water and air – which might explain why I drink so much seltzer. I’m also born under the sign of Cancer, a group of people who are notoriously home oriented. I asked him why Cancers tend to be home bodies and he said it’s because we’re born during the first sign of the Zodiac in which the daylight time starts diminishing. We have a sense of impending darkness that compels us to kling to home. This doesn’t explain how a kid from New Jersey ended up fishing in Alaska and it tends to overlook anyone born in the southern hemisphere.

Winter Sitka

Photo Credit: Mark Kelley

If the summer solstice marks the begining of darkness, the winter solstice must mark the beginning of light – in the northern hemisphere. That alone is a cause for celebration and it happened last Sunday on December 21. Short days, low sun, and the heavy overcast common to the North Pacific coast creates a light depriving season. But, despite the rain, the snow, the cold, and the gloom – the tables have turned. Six months from now, it will hardly get dark in Sitka. The sun will be up as the boats leave the dock at 5 a.m., the sunlight charged ocean will bloom with life, the big schools of kings will aggragate and feed off Sitka and all this darkness nearly unimaginable. In the meantime, cut a hole through the ice, stand in a cold river casting for steelhead, or, better yet, book a flight to a sunny place for a break. Then plan on heading north next spring or summer for the long days and the big fish.


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