“Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.”
John Lennon

Too many of my plans never seem to pan out. My life plan when I was younger was that by age 35, maybe even 30 if I was lucky, I would have my own house with the proverbial white picket fence, the pitter patter of several Neils’ and maybe Nellies’ feet in my hallways, and a beautiful wife, barefoot and pregnant again, waiting on me hand and foot, and maybe a sexy maid or two to give her a hand.

I had also planned, by this time, to be maybe a doctor, an architect, a scholar, an actor, a musician, a deejay, a restaurateur, a bon vivant, a raconteur, an adventurer, a revolutionary, a chief, teacher, artist, filmmaker, a diplomat in some exotic locale, a CEO of some giant corporation and even a lowly bartender with a sympathetic ear for the poor drunks.

I needn’t tell you I haven’t yet realized any of the above. And it’s not just my major plans that fail to materialize. I had planned on going on the spring hunt this year and didn’t. I figured out only when it was too late that maybe I had overplanned the whole expedition. In other words, life happened while I was busy making plans.

Don’t get me wrong, a few of my more humble plans have come to fruition. Although there was minimal planning involved. Which is the way, I think, our lives in this day and age usually end up. For most of us anyway. I mean how many
of us grew up to be policemen, firemen, nurses, dentists, chieves or any of the other popular youthful aspirations. Imagine a world filled with just dentists, nurses or firemen. Everyone would be healthy, with dazzling white teeth and their grease fires would be snuffed out as soon as they started. Not many people’s vision of Utopia I’m afraid.

Correct me if you think otherwise, but most Crees are… ahem… plan-challenged. It’s ingrained in our being. Life back then wasn’t conducive to plan-making when you were at the mercy of the environment and the elements. You couldn’t very well say, today, I’m going to paddle up the river a ways, shoot a few moose and be back by nightfall. You would have been laughed out of camp and left to wander the wilds alone, hungry and humiliated. Forgive the hyperbole, but you get the point I’m sure. What if a blizzard suddenly appeared. Your well-laid plans would have flown out the window. Funnily enough, you wouldn’t even have known what your plans were flying out of because you’ve lived in a teepee all your life and windows hadn’t been introduced yet. But I digress.

Maybe that’s the reason I freeze when I’m asked what my plans are for the next month or year. (Can you come to my son’s wedding next year?) It used to be that I even had trouble planning for the coming weekend or the next day and that was usually considered a flaw in my character. My attitude was always: we’ll see, who knows and even who cares. But I’m planning on completely annihilating my Cree nature so bear with me.