Archive for March, 2007

Tides of Spring

Monday, March 26th, 2007


Whoa slow down!!

About two weeks ago my wife, Nancy, and I had finished up some serious trekking in Kauai and watching the daily comings and goings of surfers. We came back home to nearly two feet of snow and over the following week we watched the packed, crystalline water take on a more liquid state as it disappeared under warming south winds.

One week upon returning, I watched my first bluebird of the year, followed the next day by half dozen red-winged blackbirds, followed the next day by the primeval calls of a pair of sandhill cranes. And then it was a handsome male harrier kiting over the field. Clearly the migratory cascade was underway.

These are the signs that spell spring far better than the tick of the clock and the turning of calendar pages. And now, as I type these words wearing a pair shorts, I look out the window and can spot only vestiges of snow patches. Taiga, our 120 pound, “sled dog,” moves frequently from his usual pone position, seeking these shrinking cool patches to lay on.

And while the world is accelerating towards spring, I have my Sorel boots, ice auger, snowshoes, winter camping sleeping bag and assorted camping gear and sleds piled in front of the garage. In less than two hours we, like the stream of migrant birds will move north in pursuit of a retreating winter.

In 24 hours my brother-in-law, Bill and I will be pulling our gear even further north as we move into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. While one can safely assume that we will not likely have to deal with bitter sub-zero temperatures, I am far more concerned about a greater threat and that is getting wet. And getting wet is far more of an issue when confronting hypothermia possibilities. So, we have extra boots and clothes and our accumulated gear looks like a deportation station.

Given that this is the last week we can fish lake trout, we felt compelled to help our families in securing necessary protein, high in Omega fatty acids. Someone has to do it.
I’m hoping while I practice the ancient art of hunting and gathering, I can watch the cavorting courtship flights of ravens.

And if the going gets a bit rough, and a moment of humor is needed to lift the spirits, I will break out my packed pair of shorts, stained from the red dirt of the Kalalau trail and my Hawaiian shirt.