The dark of night was upon us and the Norris Drive boys were down two points in the neighborhood baseball game, and all we needed was just ten more minutes to win the game. The trouble was that I knew exactly what time it was – and my mom had enacted a 7pm curfew. Momma wanted absolutely no excuses for being late. “Colin, even if you have a broken leg you should find yourself fit enough to be home on time for supper,” she would say. There was no way around Momma’s rules and with every minute past 7pm I increased my risk of extra study time, more chores around the house and even the chance of meeting face to face with her holding a switch. Needless to say, I learned all these repercussions because I was prone to beg, borrow and steal every minute I could to stay out with the boys.
In the end, I came to understand that even though I tried everything to grab just a little more time, the rules were set and I couldn’t change them no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t keep the sun from setting, the night air from getting cooler and the fact that Momma ate dinner at 7pm.
On my recent hunting trip to Northwest Ontario to hunt wolf and black bear, I was reminded of this desperate need for 10 more minutes, another day or a second chance. Although each night on stand brought great anticipation and excitement, nothing compared to that final night as the last moments of legal hunting time ticked away.
As the last rays of light began to vanish into the cool night sky I placed my hands in my pockets for warmth. It wasn’t long before I noticed my fingers subconsciously rolling over unused tags, and my heart praying for longer light. As my surroundings became gloomy, I grew anxious knowing that an encounter could be only seconds away. However, I knew what was to come and I couldn’t help but repeatedly think “I just need 10 more minutes, just 10 more!”
Then, a distant sound of an outboard motor moving down the lake reached my ears. It was my cab ride home and last call for this adventure. In this same moment I smiled to myself knowing that this trip had come to an end, and even though I only had a few minutes until Keith reached my location my mindset had already begun to change. As I let go of my desires for more time I found myself having to answer some tough questions, questions I had been putting off since I got to my stand earlier that night: Was it worth it? Should I have done something different? What would happen if I stayed one more day? Was I successful?
From an outsider perspective, one may think I was disappointed or mad, but actually I was facing the realities of hunting. The truth is, without this kind of emotional torment, a hunt would never be a quest, and I would have nothing to look forward to. Although these questions can be a struggle to overcome they ultimately inspire a greater passion for hunting.
My return trip to camp across Bluffy Lake offered me the perfect moment to gain closure as I enjoyed the spectacular imagery of night overtaking the day. With stars so close you can almost touch them, cool crisp northern air and a faint orange color on the horizon I was reminded of the true definition of adventure. Mark Twain once said, “Cast off your bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.” I felt like I was living those words.
Everyday your tape measure gets shorter and shorter. So seek out great adventures, enjoy every moment of the ride and do everything possible for ten more minutes. Only then can you discover how truly wonderful life is.
Read Heath’s other articles from this adventure: