The hypodermic syringe neared my skin and I anticipated its puncture. Oh… yes…, and the pain slipped away. No, I am not shooting up heroin or cocaine; it’s my doctor applying anesthesia to my swollen big toe. It has been a constant pain for the last year or so and as I hobbled around gamely, I swore that I would never, ever, again go without protective steel-toed boots or shoes. I’ve had enough of what sadomasochists call in-grown toenails. Why did God or evolution ever create such a useless piece of protein attached to one of the most sensitive and needed appendages, the toes? How can one tiny piece of your body cause so much pain and misery?

And why does my surgery happen on one of the most productive goose hunting days of all time, with the south wind blowing at 30 knots and the geese taking full occupation of all our senses, rendering everyone (except me) up to Defcon 4 Alert status? Incoming!! God must be angry with me for some reason or else He would have made my appointment with the good old doctor on another day. Perhaps it may be just so, since many geese will live to see another day, that is, if I can’t go out hunting.

As I walked (or rather hobbled) around the community, I marveled at the silence of the abandoned ghost town, and wondered how the hunt in the far-off camps was faring. Reports of 40 geese per day’s catch at some camps in the recent days offset by returning families who had an otherwise fruitless season balanced out the spring. Most families returned minus the men, who didn’t seem to get enough bloodletting for their taste.

Early ice thaws combined with late spring snow showers confused the usually dependable weather forecasts making daily predictions a farce, as weather changed as often as I change my mind, which is constantly, by the way. All these factors combined to give one of screwiest springs I’ve seen for some time. The last regular season was the last time I saw break up on the river. Today, it either doesn’t ice up or if it does freeze, it just melts away quietly on some warm afternoon in late May or very early June. How does that relate to hunting? Quite a bit, from what I understand. Up north, the Inuit don’t have access to the ice to travel and hunt upon and that leads to no real place for seal to sun themselves. This leads to hungry and starving polar bears… for some odd reason. I don’t really know but I saw it once on the Discovery Channel. What ever it is, it’s strange weather.

Not even strange weather or sore toes will hold back the coming spring, and I encourage all those who can, to go out and do your thing in the bush and out on the land, because spring isn’t what it used to be and some things we’ve grown to live by, may have to change.

Someone told me once, that if I can’t say anything nice or encouraging, then don’t say anything at all. Promote goodness and healthy lifestyles and give hope to the young, they urge. Make people happy. Who am I, Ann Landers? I’m the only guy I know who gets paid to be funny, so there.