Remember that old television show where city meets country? My life has those contrasts. I am the city girl, and I married an outdoors guy who loves everything to do with the woods and hunting, not a farmer. I grew up at the end of the road, in the middle of nowhere. People ask if I used to spend a lot of time camping in the Boundary Waters. I’d look at them like they were nuts and say, “What for? I have a perfectly good bed right in town.”
To be fair, by the time I was old enough to go hunting/fishing/camping in the BWCAW, my father wasn’t in any kind of shape to take us. My mother grew up in Europe. White gloves that went to her elbows, and long gowns for the opera were part and parcel of her life back then. Her idea of camping has become mine…a hotel without room service is roughing it.
Please don’t think I don’t appreciate Minnesota’s forests or pristine lakes. Quite the opposite. During the day, I love floating on the lakes and dropping a line. (Yes, I caught that beautiful walleye, but I’m not touching it.) Pick blueberries with me. Take a walk during hunting season and scare up a couple grouse.
But when night falls, there had better be more between me and the forest creatures than something I assembled.
Chicken, you say? Absolutely. I’ve been through the 7-step program. and own my fears, as irrational as they sometimes are. I’ve awakened my husband to walk me to the outhouse at night…leaving my plump babies as bear bait. I never peed so fast in my life. I’ve had black bears walk under my cabin window. No big deal except they were tall enough to see their backs as they brushed the wall, too.
Last week, we rented a cabin built into the side of a hill. There were plenty of cabins around ours. I sat on the edge of the dock and splashed my feet in the water. I loved the haunting sounds of the loons, caws of the gigantic ravens, and fluttering tweeties. We must have seen a dozen deer. So beautiful, relaxing.
And then night arrived. The southeast wind blew the water against the dock and shoreline in such a fashion to create the sound of running water. I stared at the ceiling. The loons’ plaintive cry invited the wolves to start singing. I closed the window a little more. The window next to our bed was at ground level. I heard a twig crack. And another. It wouldn’t have taken anything for a bear or a person to get through that window. I stared at the window until finally I dropped off to sleep.
Obviously nothing bad happened. I’m here. Alive and well. And certain that if ever I write that magical book that earns me a cool million, we’ll buy a cabin on the lake. And at night, we’ll light up the property enough for satellites to be able to spot us.
Do you have a wilderness fear? Share your story. I promise not to laugh – at you.
Until the next time,