May Is My Month
By this time, every year I begin to twitch badly. I just want to go. I need to go. I need to leave. I have been stuck inside, more or less for over six months. Hibernating is a drag because I cannot do the continuous sleep that bears can. I keep waking-up: “Still snow …”
In May things change: even here in Grizzly country by the end of May the snow is gone (well, unless you go as far north as Polar Bear country). I suppose if you are underneath the sixtieth parallel, you can enjoy the green grass which bravely brakes through the melting snow at this time (or a little earlier). There are all sorts of movements: little bugs, critters, all our animal cousins start sniffing at the new spring air … Everyone’s happy for the most part: everyone who has managed to make it through the long and tiresome winter months.
I keep looking at my tent(s), sleeping bags, binoculars, bear-bells, thermal mattresses … my walking stick; it is always here with me (behind me at the moment, by the bookshelf: it also wants to go). I chopped-up this walking stick from Pukaskwa National Park (http://www.dabrowski.ca/projects/pukaskwa/) ages ago, from what it seemed like half a dead tree hanging-out on the beach. It is a good walking stick: it is tough, light, has a perfect height in relation to my own height and it molds around my wrist as I hold it, in a most peculiar yet convenient way, making my wrist rest on it. It is ready. It is always ready.
I am not sure when my first time in a forest was. I honestly recall forested mountains in my memory together with learning how to ride a bicycle, learning how to fish, how to swim … I grew-up spending two-three months, every year in my grandmother’s village in the Carpathian Mountains. Mountains are magical for me, in many ways.
Therefore, even now as soon as the snow melts I begin thinking about going up-north. That is what you say here (“you’re welcome” - for teaching you Toronto slang) when you want to let people know that the city is getting to you and you are going to the bush: “I’m going-up north”. That can mean camping, fishing, cottage, Waasaga Beach, Sauble Beach – it is all “up-north”. We cannot really go south here because we would end-up in New York State and that would be a different story.
I certainly do not want to sound like a complete anti-social psychopath (I know I have said before that I trust other species of animals more than some humans). I like cities as well: the concrete jungle. I manage. The multitude of people, cultures, personalities – that is what makes cities fun (in my opinion) but in the forest it is more than fun. I never have to look over my shoulder; it is always safe. Well, sometimes I do because these raccoons nowadays are big thieves: I remember one running off with a bag of bread. While it was running, slices of bread were falling out of the bag and I was chasing after it and at the same time picking-up the slices of bread from the ground; all this while my buddy was in tears, laughing …
I feel at home in the forest. It is the one place where I feel like I can truly rest: my body, as well as my soul. I love being in the forest. I love all the little bugs, chipmunks, squirrels, foxes, wolves, bears, birds, fishes and trees. They are part of my family and I always feel welcomed amongst them; I always long to return.
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