Several time each year I make the 500 mile, or about 700 kilometer, drive up to my cabin near Sturgeon Falls Ontario. It’s a trip I enjoy, because I know that in eight hours or so I’ll be pulling in front of the Grand Haven. That’s the name I call my humble northern abode.
It doesn’t take me very long to unload the truck and store my can goods, frozen meats, and the unnecessary treats into their proper places. Usually it takes about three bottles of Labatte Blue to get the job done.
Soon I’m backing the Yamaha 350 ATV out of the barn and steering her into the bush. I call this short ride ‘ blowing the city off of me.’
Then it’s back to the cabin for a quite evening of recovering from the drive up.
The next morning, feeling refreshed and very pleased with my life at this moment, I pack up a few things for my annual tradition. I call this event ‘ my quest for silence.’ It really seems like a simple experiment at first thought but unfortunately,its sometimes frustrating.
I drive into the bush, not too far, maybe a mile or so. The bush is still wet in spring so I toss down a piece of cow hide to sit on, making sure to find a tree leaning at just the right angle for a comfortable back rest.
I unscrew the cap off a Blue, hey, I know its early morning, but there is no clock or silly rules out here, so I begin my quest. The idea is to sit for ten minutes without hearing a single man-made noise. Not even a soft hum from a refrigerator. Sounds I make do not count, as I must breath, or I might stifle a cough, or change position and almost certainly, will fart. I am 64 years old.
Seems simple enough but try it sometime. Just ten minutes. A boat motor or truck horn in the far distance and you have to start over. It is easier in the spring though. Although very scarce a plane may fly over in the fall. It’s usually the police looking for marijuana crops that are ready for harvest.
Waste of tax payers money. If they do come across a field of growing dope it’s an outsider and he screwed up. The local guys laugh at them. You just plant at the edge of swamps or hidden lakes and only put five or six plants here and more there and more way over there. They use such a small area that it’s invisible from the sky cops up there wasting gas.
Not that I would know that much about such an enterprise. I’m just here for the quest of silence. Popping the top off another beer also is allowed.
The first few minutes I have to wait for the hot ATV motor to stop tinging and pinging. By then I’m settled in. The wildlife is nowhere to be seen, they know I’m here, I am in their living room and no matter how careful you place your steps, they know something is different. Most of the time my quest will go off without a hitch. Soon the red squirrels begin to chatter. Giving me proper hell about being here but they soon accept me and start to play, or fight, or breed, fun when they do that, play I mean.
Spruce grouse are a curious bird and will often show up, almost like a magic trick. They just appear. When I reach the ten minute time limit the rest of my stay is gravy. I sometimes stay and enjoy my success for an hour or so before heading out.
Walking back to the ATV is always done as silent as possible and I cringe when turning the key on to start my machine. Making any sounds at this moment almost feels like I’m committing a sin. But, man made noise is a fact of life and I slowly drive home.
Back at the Grand Haven I take another cold beer from the old refridgadare , slide a few left over chicken wings into the micro wave, select the radio to classic country, and open up a not-to- challenging crossword puzzle. Hey, I’m not Grizzly Adams here, I’m just Jack Bennett out to enjoy life.
So, my friends, keep the faith, it gets better, it always does.