From the January 2012 issue

A Beautiful Day In Ontario

By Jack Hirt

    Fueled by the freshest air (air so fresh you wished you could bottle it and take it home with you), and serenaded at last light by the wistful yodeling of a lonesome loon not 200 feet from your door, you sleep the good sleep.
    Morning’s first light seeps into your surroundings way too early at the far northern latitude, and though it stirs you, you roll over and continue to snore until the sounds of the new day, be that of a grouse drumming, a woodpecker pounding on the cabin wall, or the roar of a float plane’s engine make you realize daylight’s burnin’.
    It’s been light for two hours before you finally get goin’. Two hours since, back home, you’d have been on the water.
    But you’re here—in Ontario—and there’s no rush. The fish are here in abundance, and they’re not going anywhere. They’re just waiting for you. And you know that as another fine day—a beautiful day in Ontario—begins.
    So you’re up at the crack of seven, shooting to be on the water—that beautiful, sun-dappled, fish-filled water—by eight, maybe. There’s no strict schedule to keep. You’re on vacation, and you’re enjoying it.
    When you finally wet a line it isn’t long until that first walleye, pike, or bass says, “hello.” As more do the same, you start to feel pretty good about yourself.
    “Am I really this good?” you ask. “Heck, the action is so steady we could be on TV!” you think. “Or is it just that the fishing is really this easy?”
    Being honest with yourself, you know the latter is the case. But so what? The whole idea of fishing is to get a fish on the line. To simply enjoy the inexplicably wonderful sensation of that wild creature jerkin’ your string. And you’re doing that. And that’s all that really matters at the time.
    Ah, it’s a beautiful day in Ontario!
    The morning passes in a blur of catch and release fishing action. But when your stomach starts to growl it’s time to think about keeping those fish your Conservation License will allow. Whether it’s a shore lunch or a fish fry back at the cabin, no chow compares to Canadian walleye fresh from the water. To not experience such fare, complemented by fried potatoes, onions, and a cold beverage of the barley kind, is to not have lived. But in your case it’s “no worries.” You’re living the high life.
    Now, you haven’t worked… err… played hard. You shouldn’t be tired. But you’re suddenly overcome by the need for a siesta. And why not? It’s a question for which there is no good answer.
    It’s a beautiful day in Ontario!
    In time, just a short time—a literal blink of the eye—you’re back at it. But this time with the girls—those who needed their morning’s beauty sleep—aboard. While you and your partner fished and caught like pros all morning, it’s time to flip the switch. Now you have to be in guide mode.
    But that’s OK, because the fish, continuing to be cooperative, are going to make you look good. They’re going to make you look like you know what you’re doing. And it never hurts to impress.
    The girls giggle, laugh, and though they remain ladies through it all, enjoy the outing to the max. And that’s a good thing. Because not only do they come to understand why you do it, they look forward to being with you while you do it again, again, and AGAIN.
    Oh yeah. It’s a beautiful day in Ontario.
    There’s plenty of daylight left. And plenty of fish to catch. But suddenly, unexpectedly, it starts to catch up with you. That special, good-tired feeling settles in, that only a great day in the outdoors promotes.
    So, it’s back to camp. The plan being to savor the moment(s). And you do, reliving and celebrating the day’s highlights, of which there were many.
    All through that first libation, everything goes according to plan, as you toast the day while the sun reluctantly settles in the west. But before you can get even part way through the second, while daylight lingers as a bright sliver on the western horizon, that lovesick loon opens up.
    It’s no use. You can’t fight it. It’s time to sleep the good sleep once again. And you will. Knowing you’ve been forever enriched by what has proved yet another beautiful day in Ontario.

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