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No summer for shut-ins

Jul 02, 2014 02:00 pm | Sam Macdonald

By the time you read this I will be somewhere in Meadow Lake, Sask. I will have probably finished my last beer, canoed to the point where my arms are ready to quit, and put out the campfire. I will in all likelihood, be preparing to return home. Iím not taking a big trip, but I donít mind Ė itís a trip.

Though schedule complications on both ends between my friends and I precluded me from spending more than a night out at the cabin, I can say even now, that I will have made every second count.

From the soreness in my shoulders that will come about from canoeing on the choppy, windswept surface of the lake to that lovely smoky smell that gets into everything when kicked back around a campfire glutting myself on símores, thereís nothing about camping I donít like.

When I get to the point, after copious driving, at which my phoneís signal starts cutting out, itís one of the few times Iím glad to see my connection with the world diminish.

To have the sounds of work and responsibility fade into the background, even if only fleetingly, itís part of the magnetic pull of the lakes and woods that beckon at the periphery of the towns and cities out here.

Waking up to a symphony of birdcalls in the middle of nowhere is often jarring, but a welcome way to do so, given the alternative at home, with those alarms weíve all conditioned ourselves to dread.

I tend to take the presence of pheasants, rabbits, and all the other assorted critters in our collective backyard for granted until those groggy transitional strolls at 5 a.m., when I find them hopping out into my path and are staring me in the eye.

Last summer, I spent a lot of time indoors, despite my claims of wanting to do otherwise. Geocaching turned out not to be nearly as exciting as I reckoned it to be at first Ė oh well.

Iíve joked about pulling my desk outside to work when it gets warm more times than I, or anyone else I work with, who hears those jokes over, and over, would care to remember.

Instead of rehearsing the same tired lines, I decided to do something about it this year. The County of St. Paul, northern Saskatchewan, and other places within a proverbial stoneís throw are just the beginning.

There are whole swaths of boreal forest, and mountains to the west that demand their due in hiking and camping. There are plenty of bonfires Iíve yet to kindle, and plenty of excuses to get outdoors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson put it quite well, when he once said, ďTo the body and mindÖ nature is medicinal and restores their tone. The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and woods, and is a man again. In their eternal calm, he finds himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.Ē

Happy Canada Day, folks. I hope you can find that horizon too Ė thereís plenty of it out here.

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