It’s the first week of February and as you’d expect, it’s cold, snowy and, if it weren’t for the white new fallen snow, it would be dreary, almost dead looking. To sum it up without sounding like I’m whining, I’ve got the worst case of cabin fever I’ve had in years.
Like everyone else, I’ve gone through stages: from not being able to sit still – not caring what I did, just as long as it entailed moving – to wanting everything I could get my hands on, wanting it until I had it. Now, age and experience – mostly age – has me questioning, asking, why?
I hadn’t fished very much last year, partly because I bought an I/O for the grandkids to ski and tube behind and though it did its job, it was a poor boat for fishing ….poor planning in my part. Also, it takes time off the river when you’re trying to dump kids off of a tube when they tell you they can take anything you can dish out. I enjoyed it and I’ll do it again this summer.
I also got into woodworking. I turned my garage into a small woodshop with all the necessary machines; from table saw to planer to jointer and everything in between. There is something satisfying turning out a table or cupboard or nick-knack with your own hands. It’s made me appreciate craftsmanship and quality of function rather than flash. The garage isn’t heated and the kerosene heater is less effective than a candle in an ice shanty unless it’s in the high thirties.
All this brings me back to the predicament I find myself in now. Years ago I’d put on two pair of socks and layered my clothing and spent time afield, not carrying what I was doing, just as long as I was doing something, usually with a dog. Now, however, Seamus and I both suffer from cabin fever. Come on spring.
The one thing older folks have during such mind numbing times are their memories. Sitting by the fire, smelling the logs and watching the flames dance, wondering just why wood burns until it disappears into gray ash, if I close my eyes and mind to everything around me, I can relive the float down the big water of the Au Sable from Mio to Cummins in the ugliest boat that ever floated the river. It took almost five hours, stopping to fish a hole or log or feeder creek and taking time to take in what nature provided; like the doe and fawn standing in a bog, drinking and eating vegetation along the edge. Or the Bald Eagle circling overhead, on one occasion, diving like a dive-bomber, skimming the water talons first and lifting with a trout, heading to a nest to possible share the catch with young.
A nudge from Seamus, my Brittany and hunting bud, forcing his head under my hand brings me back to here and now. He wants to go outside. He doesn’t stay our long, just long enough to check behind the garage and shed and every inch of under the deck. When he’s reinforced his place in the hierarchy of his yard he’s ready to come back inside.