The reports came in slowly, each word carefully pronounced over the crackle of the HF radio. Camp by camp, the intelligence grew to another inconclusive conclusion. The geese were not showing as in the past years. The camps slowly emptied, children were brought back to school and workers gladly went back to work, due to the intensive inactivity back at the camp.
Then, a gushing geyser of frantic satellite and cell phone calls to my headquarters confirmed my greatest fear. Yes, the geese were coming. I had misinterpreted the information from the south and scheduled my goose break two weeks early and shot only a few, not enough to break my back with the load.
Just a generation ago, grumbles from the goose camps were few and far between. But today the grumbling is as acceptable as white noise from a cheap sound system, just noticeable enough to be there. Such is modern-day camping and hunting. Record-breaking spring thaws and the rapid dehydration of ponds and swamps are the telltale signs of the global warming we have come to know on an annual basis.
Perhaps it is not as noticeable in the south, where warm weather is always welcome, no matter the season. But we Cree are conditioned to harsh weather systems that bring the goose down to shooting height, not the cloudless, endless melanoma of sunny days that create frustrated hunters by the dozens.
Time to change with the season I say, and get down to the grind of daily life and school. By the way, I have a solution to the goose break and summer doldrums that plague the local schools. Have school year-round with three major breaks: spring goose, fall and Christmas! That will end the summer boredom and create another school season. We have only a few lousy weeks break for July anyways, so why don’t we put this to a test?
Down south, the only reason why school was closed for the summer was to send the kids back home to toil in the fields and farms, practicing their traditional harvesting, just as we do in the spring and fall. We could probably fill in all the gaps that are interrupted by our traditional time off and actually accomplish producing more graduates to boot! To make it even better, we could say that summer school is work, and pay students to go to school during the hotter months.
I know that this idea may not be the ideal for those who have summer vacation ingrained in their genes, but who says it can’t work? It’s worth a try. I know that in the day, back in the 1970s, we had nothing to do but wander around all night thinking of ways to torture teachers in the fall, or planning what to do after supper the next night. But over all, we were bored senseless. If it weren’t for the new developments in the north, I’m sure some folks’ names would be changed to Fence-Post-Sitters, or Sun-Avoiders, or even worse, Dabowee-ashers.
I used to anticipate summer holidays as a teen, but now that I work year-round, I tend to look forward to the traditional breaks eagerly, as I am afraid that those days may go the way of ho-hum summer breaks.