“Let’s see, now, the angle of the wall is perpendicular to the 22.5 degree offset at 221 degrees to the south… “I mumbled to myself. That Nimiq satellite, some distance off in the near space orbit, can’t be too hard to find with this 10 inch dish I was installing on the small hunting cabin East of Umujiaq. No answers from the diehard Senator fans indoors, only the static from the television screen and the steady distant drone of the generator. I shrugged to the eager viewers and went back to the drawing board, a hastily scrawled inner cover of the instruction book. Figuring out where we were on Earth and where the satellite was in space was easy for me, using just an incomprehensible numbering system I invented when I learned lazy math. (Lazy math is the quickest way to calculate number quickly, a tried and true and easy to remember system). I was supposed to be hunting geese or something like that, deep in the north imbedded in a small valley and surrounded by geese and caribou, but priorities are priorities when you live the bush life.
I double and triple check and my numbers are right on, we’re 200 km east of Wemindji then north of Montreal 1600 km and south of Inukjuak by 400 km. So what’s the problem? Aha! The cabin is crooked and offset by another 7 degrees ascending and magnetic north is variant by 15 degrees west. I adjust the shuddering dish with 35 km winds wiping my nose and a roar erupts from inside the cabin in an area where electricity was void. Yes, I am a genius and with a silly grin, re-enter the world where television dominates again and the now wiped out Senators entertained me until the end of May. I get the seal of approval from Samson, the talleyman and my friend. I also get in good with the ladies, who continued the sagas of soaps with a dedicated fervor.
Next, the duties of providing a more traditional source of energy, firewood, had to be done, while it was still cold and the snow still crusty enough for our machines and sleds. We gather enough to last exactly until the time we leave sometime in early June. The finely honed chainsaw cut the dry wood like butter and load after load of wood we loaded near the cabin. It was a little difficult to find large dry trees nearby in the taiga sub-arctic within driving range. Our wood gathering was interrupted by a small herd of caribou, and one was felled by Aaron. It is butchered neatly and soon afterwards, fried steaks sizzled for a company of ten hungry bush folk followed by a good hockey game with no interruptions! C’est la bon vie.
After primal concerns were set aside, the hunt was on for the great honkers that fly, unfailingly, to the north every spring. The walkie talkies ringed and news that Samson got two on his first real day of hunting. Feathers and sparks flew as the geese were sumptuously sigabonned, served in the late evening. We ate like it was our first goose in a decade. Our return to our unseen blind resulted in a goose for each in our trio of sureshotted and keen eyed marksmanship. The weather was marred by twenty five degree cloudless skies for three weeks and I finally tanned the back of my hands and face from the nose down to the neck. The four foot deep snow evaporated steadily until we could walk in our town footwear anywhere.
Suckers, attikamekw and trout were regularly hauled in by night hooks and by net, and we gratefully bumped our heads on the bounty we reaped, slowly dried and lazy smoked, which cured endlessly within our eeyoumichuap. The occasional black duck graced our tabled, which were effortlessly wolfed down. Sadly, we returned a day earlier by Twin Otter, which gracefully took off from the hemmed shrub runway and swooped over raging rapids to land back in Kuujjuarapik and return to the ways of daily showers and dusty roads. Back to harsh reality, I realize that I have been missing from the mainstream for not nearly long enough and return to churning out senseless stories for the Nation Magazine. Next spring, I’ll be after the hawiaan goose. Until next spring break, Aloha!