Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cold days

So... it hasn't been all that cold here this winter and I have not missed the cold. Last night the temperature dropped significantly assisted by a nasty wind chill. I was feeling so cold and rather whiny (at least in my inside voice). At work, this was not assisted by our custodians couldn't turn up the heat because the controls company hadn't made an onsite call to fix the controls. However, I was reminded of when I was in my first year of college and we went up north to do an aboriginal awareness program and it was a fabulous experience and stretched a prairie girl's world perspective. Some of the things that we did included beading, meeting some of the most resourceful people, eating bear and caribou and being stunned speechless by the most incredible show of the Northern Lights one night. I thought that the trip's most humbling moment was the fact that I failed the orienteering portion of the class. Every time I held the compass, it went crazy all over the place. I would put it on the floor to try and figure it out but every time I touched it... disaster. Maybe I do have a metal plate in my head. No, I am not being overly dramatic. This was the real deal. One of the other things that we got to do was ice fishing. We sat on the open ice with an incredible windchill (think -30C... pushing to that point where Fahrenheit and Celsius align at -40). A little hole with a fishing line and a bit of bait jigging it up and down. No sign of any little huts or fires to keep you warm. This was Bible college so the thought of a 'warm' drink wasn't a part of the agenda either. How do we spell boredom and disillusionment with all those mentally insane people who think ice fishing is fun? The next day we went ice fishing but with large nets. So they would drill big holes in the ice, put nets underneath and someone would walk quietly along the ice listening to where the piece of wood was knocking along. At the end, you'd drill another hole and pull up the nets. We did it the same way that people have fished for centuries. Truly, what an adventure! As we were leaving, the group was kicking snow over the hole so it wouldn't freeze as thick for the next time they needed to go fishing. Our leader firmly told us where to not go and I promptly obeyed him by walking right ... into the hole! Thankfully the leader grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and I only fell down to my waist. He saved my life. It was about -40C out that day and I could only get rid of so many layers before we got home. I had never been so cold in my life. We went winter camping the next night (even the locals thought we were insane to camp at -50C) and I couldn't get enough layers on me. I was so grateful that I hadn't died but I was also a sick chick and couldn't warm up. Side note: this story has gone down in this program's folklore and every year the students were warned to be safe by my story of 'blond roots'. Every year they are told of the tale of the girl who didn't listen. I left that couple weeks of my life with a great respect for northern dwellers, an appreciation for aboriginal art and culture and a love of warm toques, socks, mittens, long underwear, Sorel boots and anything that keeps you warm in the cold. Wool sweaters aren't so much itchy as a fashion statement now. If you have a nice group of people going winter camping, ice fishing or sitting on open ice on a -30C day, don't worry about me. I'm planning on organizing my sock drawer, washing my hair, getting sick, rolling bandages for the Red Cross and praying for you! Excuse me while I go make another cup of tea and pick up my knitting.

2 comments:

MomOfTheCrazies said...

I didn't recognize your site this morning! Nice redecorating!

I have never heard about your ice fising adventures before. You know that Dave's going to get a kick out of this one!

Bargainista said...

Sign me up for helping you roll bandages and sipping tea, and praying for those heading out for northern ice fishing.