Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Big 34...
The Maine Outdoorsman pulling a Northern Pike through the ice... be ready for his drivel and endearing efforts of dishonesty and rumor...
Another year has passed and I wouldn't qualify the year as the best ever. Our family has endeared loss, challenges, and hard times while also witnessing major pivotal moments of transition, accomplishments, and opportunity. With that said, I'd like to share in my weekend that puts me yet another year closer to the end.
A cold, wet snout raked across my face and the smell of dog permeated my personal space this early morning. This was not how I envisioned the beginning of my 34th birthday, but I suppose the undying love of a dog that I would consider annoying is better than no attention at all. Here I lay in the guest room of the Maine Outdoorsman, aka Rabid Outdoorsman, aka Sheldrake Steve, aka Duck Hammer, aka owner of chubby dog Onyx who was licking my face.
I could hear the banter of his little men down the hall and soon the early preparations of the day were in full effect. The plan was to have breakfast, and then bolt for home before my beauties got home from Sunday school and church. Only three hours of driving would be the obstacle in my plans.
This weekend jaunt for northern pike was the best attempt to rectify the poor planning made in regards to the much anticipated salmon/lake trout fiasco that had been previously planned. I'm appreciative that Steve would make time to at least offer me an opportunity to catch a fish of great magnitude.
We did get a series of flags Friday afternoon at Great Pond of the Belgrade Lakes chain, but only two traps proved successful. However, my catch was less than satisfactory while Steve managed to pull in a nice 24 inch Northern Pike. Upon dusk, we quickly gathered the gear and made way to base camp.
The next day would require travel by avenue of all terrain vehicle as we cruised out to Hoyt Island on Great Pond for an early set up. Unfortunately, our rewards for researching, planning, and implementation yielded only one flag in the early afternoon. Battered but not beaten, we chose to quit before dusk to load the equipment properly and get back for a meal that would be waiting for my consumption.
Although we had little success, I absolutely enjoyed my two days in central Maine. Sometimes being in the outdoors isn't necessarily about limiting out or taking a trophy, but much rather an opportunity to share time with a great friend and figure out how to better ourselves and the world around us. For that, I'm thankful for the time off and chance to reflect on the things working well in my life while considering the avenues of improvement. Next time, the 23 pound northern pike will find its way through the ice (and not Steve's hole).
I did get home in record time and well before the return of my little beauties. Once they arrived, we immediately hit the floor for some creative design (coloring) including my rough plans for an ice fishing shack that will attach to a trailer I've been working on. Everything else went without hesitation; a great ham dinner, cake & ice cream, and cards were opened. Throw that in with some snuggle time, reading a few books with the girls, and an early bedtime made for an early evening.
Even though my 365 days from age 33 to 34 have been full of sadness and loss, I do realize how fortunate I am to build this world and most importantly to build two most wonderful and aspiring young ladies. I'm a lucky man to have my life and I sincerely hope that this next year gives more in life than it takes away, but that is in God's hands...
I'll end tonight with a line from the card my wife gave me-
You are the arms around me when I'm feeling all alone in the world, and the only person in the universe that I'd ever want to spend forever with.
It's amazing that she chose me, and even greater that I'm forever in her eyes. Again, I'm a lucky man...
The Downeast Duck Hunter