This article originally appears at Life Explained and has been reprinted here with permission from the author.
Saying farewell to summer, and welcoming winter, can be bittersweet, as you put away the shorts, sleeveless shirts and sandals in favor of coats, boots, and sweaters. While doing so, it is imperative to remember the joys of summer. Mowing, raking, baking in the inescapable, unforgiving sun…well, that doesn’t sound that good.
Reaching back a little further…ah yes, the true joy of summer: the carefree days of sitting in the withering heat trying to catch a fish.
Fishing is a great pastime, what with trying to outsmart an animal, crafty, and cunning, hiding in the depths, a ruthless carnivore. A truly relentless, tireless predator. Armed with nothing but a $250 rod and reel, several hundred dollars of assorted “tackle,” a cooler full of beer, and a $15,000 boat. Morning turns to afternoon, and slides effortlessly into evening, as you match wits with a primitive creature. Trolling, drifting, setting anchor. Nothing works. All day and not a nibble, but enough blood loss to mosquitoes that you may need a transfusion, and a sunburn so bad it might require skin grafts. But not one nibble! Stupid fish, anyway. Things will go so much better when you have a new pickup to haul that boat to the lake. Then you would be reeling them in.
But winter is not the time for fishing (well, ice fishing is popular in some places, but since that doesn’t support this post, we are going to ignore it). Winter is for hunters. Ah, hunting. Now there is a pastime older than humanity. It is just you, a $5,000 shotgun loaded with shells that cost more than the first several cars you owned, and the birds, facing off in a life and death struggle. May the most evolved species win.
After hours of tromping through wet undergrowth in Arctic conditions, you still have not seen your first bird. Sure, you’ve heard plenty, as they jump up right behind you (you must have almost stepped on the stupid things) and quickly fly away, screaming in bird language, “Hey, here I am, human, right behind you.” Oh, this is too much.
You are no longer even willing to eat the evil thing, as you are convinced it is the same bird, following you throughout the day, jumping up, shouting bird obscenities at you, and flying away. Enough is enough! You just want to blow that bird into little pieces, pieces so small it would take a vacuum cleaner to pick the thing up off the ground. You have a plan, and you are ready.
At the first sound of a bird taking flight, you spin violently around, looking wildly for the malevolent bird, and hit your friend, who is sending a text message, right in the face with enough force to shatter his nose. Blood flies everywhere and he drops his phone in a muddy puddle at his feet. To further complicate problems, the force of the collision, gun barrel against nose, causes you to pull the trigger, and in what has become typical of the day, the pellets blow out the windshield and puncture the radiator of your wife’s car. Dammit!!! If only you had spent the extra $3,000 to buy the really good shotgun.
You head to the road, helping your friend, who is starting to look pretty pale, just in time to see the bird wink at you and run into the bushes at the bottom of the ditch.