Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The first battle of the North

A speaking gig and two great visits later, we finally made it "up north," to this gorgeously isolated rental place that's been, for us, something of a home "on the lake" for the last three summers and early falls. We stopped for groceries on the way, arrived a little early (the cleaning crew was still here), drove back to a gas station to get bait, then drove up again, took the bikes off the back of the car, and unloaded enough clothes and gear for machine-gun company, got ourselves in the place, stuck the frozen stuff in the freezer, put the peanuts and chips on the counter, and finally--finally!--sat down to draw the first blessed breaths of vacation.

Look, it's this way. One of the pure blessings of "up north" is Minnesota's fabulous hiking and biking paths. They wander hither and thither throughout the region, and you can can take a different one every day for a week and not see the same lily pads. They're everywhere.

'Twasn't hot, but 85 degrees isn't cool either. We sat here like a pair of well-satisfied Java the Huts, knowing it was time. After all, we'd gone several days without a workout. I picked up the camera because the wildflowers were splendiferous--all the way up we told ourselves the trails were going to sing with color. It was time for our first good, stiff walk in the northwoods.

What I'm saying is that, despite the fact that taking a hot walk isn't all joy, we were looking forward to that first sweet jaunt in the hardwoods just as eagerly as that first strike on the fishing line. Not kidding.

And then this guy. He's evil. He's vermin. He's demonic.

A good stiff walk is not only good for the soul, but good for the paunch too. You burn calories. Well, quadruple mine because for the two miles we stepped off heartily, I was forever slapping my head, trying to keep those dang deer flies at bay, maybe a dozen of them it seemed, only a bit less determined to alight on my sweaty bald head than I was driven to keep them the heck off. I whacked a bunch of them, actually saw a half-dozen fall cold dead to the blacktop beneath our feet, their deaths affording me fiendish pleasure.

We stepped off that two-miles in record time, and I didn't stop for pictures. Don't ask me if there were wild flowers--I don't know and neither does me wife. We walked like whirling dervishes, I swear, although I honestly believe those blasted deer flies much prefer male pattern baldness.

We got what we wanted--exercise. This morning, my shoulders feel as if I pitched five innings.

Those rotten creatures got to be good for something or God wouldn't have made 'em right? Maybe not. Maybe, just for once, he just messed up.

A mile into the walk, I swear I was praying for a swarming cloud of hungry vampire bats.

We'll live to walk again. Count on it. Let them count their dead and beware because we'll be back.

I'll wear a cap.


Valerie Sikkema said...

I heard on the radio this morning that you can take care of deer flies by putting duct tape on you hat (sticky side out). They are attracted to shiny things and then get stuck. Try it and see if it works.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it Jabba the Hut

Anonymous said...

I wonder about why God made chiggers...after being bitten again this summer (fiery strings of bites).
A glorious night sitting by a campfire with stars hanging down above us...will nevertheless be followed by my fighting chigger bites for two weeks. That's southern Iowa. So it's deerflies in Minnesota.