Fish or Cut . . . Wood

By , March 29, 2011

I haven’t gotten the feeling yet, but I know it’s coming. I get it every year around this time. Or, more precisely, around this weather.

We’re getting the first real spring weather. The cold has departed, replaced by comfortably cool days that, by comparison, seem downright warm. The sun has persisted in shining for a good portion of each day, even those that have included brief snow and rain showers. The sun is warm enough at midday to warm the spruce and hemlock around us, scenting the air with a most seasonally evocative perfume.

Every year when this weather arrives, I get the feeling—the urge to fish.

Suddenly, I’m filled with a discontent, a restlessness, an ennui. I find myself drawn to the edge of the rocky beach, where I stare forlornly at the water, searching for signs I know I won’t see yet, of arriving herring, of Dolly Varden dropped down from the lakes, maybe even a salmon or two. I pace and shuffle, mooning about.

It’s pathetic, really.

This year, I’ve resolved to avoid this feeling for as long as possible, perhaps even until it’s actually time to start fishing off the rocks. My antidote will be to throw myself into cutting the year’s firewood.

I have not totally ignored this remedy in past springs. I’ve actually done very well some years, but my heart has never really been in it. Inevitably, I wander to the water and cast, “just to get into practice again.” They say that time enjoyed wasted is not wasted time, but I probably would have been better off to focus on the wood cutting. Instead, I put it off into the summer months, when the days are far warmer, and it’s much less comfortable to work hard. The mosquitoes are out then (we saw this year’s first on Sunday) along with all the other biting insects. Better to get the bulk of the wood in now while the weather’s better, and save the summer for fishing when the salmon are running.

I’ve made a great start. We’ve already got a nice pile of split wood growing in the wood shed, which had been almost completely depleted through the severe winter. Not only that, but all of it’s prime wood, dry enough to burn tonight if need be. I’ve got a pile of wetter wood that’s almost as big growing on the beach, where the sun bakes the moisture out of it.

By the end of each day I come home happily exhausted, satisfied with my progress. I have few thoughts for fishing, and would probably be too pooped to cast a lure even if I did.

If I can just stay focused, one sweet day the herring run will take me by surprise, and it’ll be time to turn my attention and effort to the beach. In the meantime, to the woods!

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