Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Scavenger in Paradise

     Lake of the Woods Color                                                             Immature Loon


               Lake of the Woods sandbar with driftwood

            We were fishing way off in the back reaches of the mammoth Canada “Lake of the Woods.”  My partner and I stopped on a little sand and fine gravel beach to eat dinner.  We had fished a solid five hours, with light gear, rods bent constantly with the resistance of walleye, crappie, yellow perch and a few smallmouth bass.  That little gravel bar had deer tracks that I didn’t see much of thirty years ago.  There were also some big, deep timber wolf tracks in the sand.  Driftwood was everywhere, and I started picking up a few beautifully shaped and weathered pieces to bring back home.  I am and always have been a scavenger of sorts, way back to the days I spent on Bull Shoals and Ozark rivers where I collected driftwood and rocks that I just couldn’t walk away from.  My place is filled with unusual rocks, driftwood, arrowheads and old stuff that cause Gloria Jean to call me a hoarder.  I can’t help it. There’s something out of whack in my brain that makes me treasure things of little value to anyone who is normal. But I ain’t the only one, there are several others I have met much like me.  We are the people you see in McDonalds parking lot looking for pennies.

    And as Rich built a fire, there it was, a scavengers delight… an old fishing lure. I have something in the neighborhood of five or six hundred fishing lures I have found over the years and yet finding another one brings me great happiness.
At Nestor Falls, Ontario, at a small sporting goods store, big foot-long muskie lures sell for 20 to 24 dollars.  So between our long hours of fishing, we stopped to get exercise by scouring each little sand bar for fishing lures.  We came     home with 29 of them, many of them antiques. Ten of them were big muskie lures which each sell for more than I pay for fishing lures in a year.
                                                                         Larry with a large yellow perch
         Yellow perch are not valued much in Canada, but they are one of the best fish you have ever tasted, in the same family as the walleye.  Trouble is, they are often very small, like our bluegill.  Rich and I got into a bunch of bigger ones, from 11 to 13 inches in length and we are allowed to bring back 25 of them, so we did.  The crappie which once were thick in those waters seem to have dwindled drastically.  In spots where we once caught dozens, we found none.  Where we did find them, they are big and hard fighting fish you catch right on a sand bottom in almost forty feet of water and we caught our limit quickly.

 Rich with a nice crappie

       We caught lots and lots of fish, but most walleye were small.  In fact we caught none exceeding 15 inches. Walleye fishing in Lake of the Woods seems to be declining greatly.  I hooked into a few good-sized smallmouth though, and once we got tired of fishing jigs straight down below the boat, so we tied on spinners and buzz-baits and caught northern pike by casting the shoreline.  There isn’t enough room here to say all I’d like to say about this past week in Canada.


 I have been told that my great grandfather stowed away on a ship and went to Canada from France.  He met and married a young woman who was the daughter of a French trapper who lived for a time with Cree Indians in Northwest Ontario north of Lake of the Woods.  Her mother was a full-blood Cree Indian.  So there isn’t much of the Canadian Cree blood in me, but there is a little, and I can feel it when I visit the Lake of the Woods area a couple of times a year.  It is a spectacular multicolored wilderness in October with clean, clear blue water and woods where you could get lost forever.  There isn’t a way for me to use words or photos to describe it.  It almost seems to be a sacred land, a place where God stoops closest to the earth.

            I loved the Ozarks dearly when I was young, but it is nearly gone, the Ozarks I knew.  The rivers are filled and dirty and the woodlands recede. The type of people I knew are gone, and the values and convictions they had are fading away fast.

            Canada’s cities, Winnipeg and Toronto being the two I have seen, are at the least, no better than cities found here.  They are stuffed with far too many people and they seem to crave a life of more money, and new technology.  But in the rural areas of Manitoba, Northwest Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, you will find the greatest country people you have ever met, and their morals and values are much like I saw as a boy here in the Ozarks.
            I think if I were a young man today, I’d look at the part of Alberta just below and just east of the Rocky Mountains where the land and life is too difficult for the lazy and those looking for government handouts.  The only illegal immigrants they would ever have to worry about are those people from the U.S. like me who are craving peace and neighbors who have the old-fashioned beliefs that I have.  Small churches there are the only crowded places, made up of those who will work hard without the worship of money nor the screwed-up “diversity” we are seeing destroy our nation.
            The rural people of Canada can escape their government socialist leanings and incompetent leaders, which are as bad or worse than our government, by just going deeper into the wilderness, where the laziness of “diversity” and the heathen element of immigration which envelopes our nation doesn’t exist. You can forget who they are in that bush country of northern Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

            People in our country who are over fifty can sense what is coming here… it is something you just feel in your soul, seeing more of the west burn each summer and the consuming drought which is unmatched in history, only a part of natural catastrophes which are coming. In Korea and Iran, nuclear weapons are now being held for our cities, and if you pay attention to that little fat moron that heads Korea you know that in a matter of a decade or two or perhaps sooner, you will see great destructive, horrible bombs fall on our country, or perhaps brought across our border and detonated on the ground by those ‘diverse’ people who hate us.

            I know that a very small percentage of Americans have the love of solitude and peace that I have, but those who are younger and do share such feelings, should forsake all places where numbers of humans are increasing rapidly, and look at remote wild areas like those found in rural Canada.  I was only a small boy when my grandfather told me that a lifeboat will only hold so many, and that someday I would see the country we loved so much destroyed by numbers of people beyond my comprehension.  He added that when nature endures tremendous numbers of any species, some kind of destructiveness comes to save the lifeboat from sinking.  Something is coming, and you can feel it. We have abandoned the things that made our country great.  There are no more Abe Lincolns or Roosevelts in our future.

            I feel so fortunate to be able to live as close to the earth as I have been. If my kids and grandkids would go with me tomorrow I would be headed for Canada somewhere, never to return.  That beautiful, natural wild country is a rough land to survive in, but it is a place where life has more of a purpose than the accumulation of wealth.  Without computers or television, it would not be hard to get back to a real purpose for living, close to God again.

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