I was just over visiting Ratty at the Nature Centre Magazine blog . Nature Centre Magazine Ratty posted a little winter poem that sparked a memory in me and a chuckle. Visit and read to see from where inspiration can come. On with the story that jumped into my conscious mind.
Back in the late 70's/early 80's , I frequently visited and helped where I could at The Community. This was located on a tract of land that had been purchased by a handful of young families. It was out of the way of highways and cities in rural northern Ontario...off the grid . No electricity- kerosene/coleman lamps; wood heat ; coleman stoves were the biggest luxuries. No running water- a community pump and hauling what you consumed. Outhouses and washbasins took care of essentials.
Many of the people had experience and a variety of survival skills for this kind of lifestyle. If no one had the know how , they were plenty willing to learn fast. Others however had few. In some cases common sense escaped them.
Peter was an intellectual type totally in love with the romance of getting back to the land.
One morning after a wonderful fall of fresh snow , Peter felt inspired to don his snowshoes and take a little walk in the bush ( forest ). Off he waddled from the back of his house into the woods with his romantic thoughts of being the first to place his mark on the 12 inches of soft fluffy white.
Breaking trail on deep fresh snow is no easy task. Even snowshoes sink. Every step forward lifts a load of snow. It wasn't long before the whimsey of snowshoeing in the bush abandoned Peter. And the pain of breaking trail alone with no partner to spell him off set in.
On bright sunny days in the thick bush , one's sense of reality can get confused . The affect of flickering sunlight through the branches plays tricks on your central nervous system. With the shadows and bright sunlight constantly in motion , it acts like a strobe light. It can disorient even the most seasoned.
Peter , new to the effect and labouring hard, got 'turned around' . He began to panic.Soon he had convinced himself that he was lost. He began screaming for help.
Another community member, who lived i in a house a few hundred yards down the road, heard the cries and shouted back. "Where are you?"
"I don't know. I'm lost."
"Well come over here."
" Where are you? I can't see you."
"Just walk toward my voice."
"Okay. Keep talking."
After a few minutes, Peter emerged from the bush "with eyes the size of saucers" , to quote his neighbour.
He thanked him profusely and explain how he got turned around. That he was scared and panicked.
"How can you get lost in winter? All you had to do was follow your tracks back home."
" Oh! I never thought of that."
On cold winter evenings , Peter's story joined the others in a collection of amusing experiences and misadventures of folks from The Community.
I don't think that he thinks there was anything amusing in the situation. Still...more than thirty years later.
Oh well ! I do.
By the way , Peter had been walking more or less parallel to the road about fifty feet in the bush. He had gone only a few hundred yards in distance as the bird flies.
Never go into the bush without common sense.