Absolute Perfection The jet skiff skimmed up the Ambler River, my guilt fading with each bend. I’d sworn to myself to stay glued to home, attending to a pile of now-or-next-year chores. But here I was, heading out into the country instead. The day had started with the same grungy, rain-spattered weather that had defined the past month; but by afternoon the clouds had dissolved into a blue sprawl of sky, colors glowing, the breeze sighing of summer—the best day of the whole damn fall. As a bonus, the hordes of mosquitoes and gnats that had plagued us had evaporated. So, what to do—spend this afternoon patching and painting a storage shed desperate for it five years ago, or take a river run somewhere? Not much of a decision. The shed was good at waiting, after all. Soon as I’d decided to duck out, I knew where I was going—up…
Cultural anthropologist and award-winning author Richard K. Nelson passed away in 2019 at the age of 77.
The hunt for the perfect photo.
IT’S 1981, a mid-August evening on the spine of the Kobuk-Noatak divide, 70 miles above the Arctic Circle. It’s hard, wind-scraped country: tundra valleys webbed with caribou trails, rolling away beneath a wide sky.