Essay excerpt below.
The cabin is shaped like an A because techs inhabit it for only two months of the year and it has to stand up to the coastal Alaskan storms pounding it for the other ten. The cabin’s pointiness echoes the precipices and sharp summits surrounding it, but the mountains are not trimmed with red paint and the cabin has no gargoyle of a glacier hunched on its shoulder. A river flows past, draining from a small lake where red salmon spawn to the tune of ice cracking on the mountain above. The reds are why techs come here, two or three miles upwatershed from the sea of Prince William Sound, to summer over without electricity or plumbing or pavement or people. Gary and I are here for a season counting and killing fish in that river, listening to the ice overhead, and watching the rain fall.
“The human genome for your gastrointestinal tract is as complex as for the rest of your body,” Gary says. There is plenty of space for calmness to settle between his words, placing us on the peaceful side of his moodswings. “It’s as unique as a fingerprint.” Full essay in the Flyway archives.