Out Your Backdoor

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It's That Time of Year---Raking, XC Ski Training...Deer Hunting

November 20, 2006

[BUMP from 11/12/05!] A week ago all the leaves came down. The local views opened up. The air got crisp. Geese fly over honking.

I picked up the rake.

What a lovely all-body motion, with the kids playing in the growing leaf pile. And how lovely, too, to see them eagerly drop the GameBoy for LEAVES! I didn't have to say it twice. "I'm going raking! Leaf pile!" But immediately afterward I gave not a thought for the bike. I got out my rollerskis did a loop then got out the shoes and started running the trails.

It's time to shift, naturally, effortlessly, to XC ski training. It's the grey, spitty-rain time of year. Cold, wet leaves on the road---a time for hill-bounding. Wearing more wool. But not too much. Far less clothes than those around me. Vigor in the fresh air keeps you toasty. Then there's trail building and pruning, log tossing, wood cutting (and splitting and stacking). Getting ready for winter and snow and the many things both mean. (Building fitness for snow-shoveling, for one thing!)

I loved the Time of Psychedelic Leaves, but I love this sparse time, too. --The smell of rot and decay that goes with the wide-open grey woods.

The Leaf Color Explosion time is October is kind of indulgent; it's an overload. It's thick, almost too much. All that color!

November is the Clear-out Time of clarity. Long views for the first time in the year. Mid-Michigan is a closed-in region. Our views here are about 100 yards. We're hemmed in by foliage. When the leaves are gone we can see a whole quarter mile or even half mile!


Now, this is also a time of torsion. I'm torn. I'm a natural born hunter and fisherman and trapper and camper, voyager of rivers and lakes. This ends up conflicting with biking and skiing. Can't do it all. Well...sometimes I've tried. Man, October just begs for bowhunting and turkey camo and the search for upland game. It makes me wish I didn't have a gunshy gundog. November, too---it's time to be outdoors every day, all day. Actually, when I was a trapper that conflicted with my hunting: no time! And if you live up north, you'd want to be blending steelhead and salmon fishing in there, too. What to do!

Actually, if I did live Up North in the Right Place I could maybe fit it all in. The main thing is to not have to travel/drive. If I could hunt and fish Out My Backdoor. And bike and ski. And canoe and trap. That might work. Taking the travel out of it really breaks things open. And some of my up north buddies do just this. When I visit them I see the crazy look in their eyes of Having It All. And the pity they feel for a downstater like me.

Of course, theirs isn't a "having" in the sense of "he who has the most toys..." it's more that they're living right. You don't possess that which you just go into the backyard to do. You just do it. It's not owned. They're back to the Indian Way: how can you own the sky? Theirs is a having without the poverty of possession. As Marx said. One can always buy time, if one was wangled a good deal with Money, but what a devil's deal that is. Coz it's bought you, too. It's science, nothing personal. But in physical having you're also had. That's why Being is a better thing to strive for. And it has to be easier to Be without having to Drive.

This is also a pitch for the idea that LOTS of people out there are far more Generalist than the media allows. There's no media out there where those who both bike and fish are depicted as being the same people. No, they're divided. Conflicts are set up. Fake segregation. OYB is here to say it's jim-dandy if ya bike to your fishin' river or yer huntin' blind. Bikers and skiers have to eat, too. Indy culture lives low on the foodchain every which way. We don't need motors for (all) our motion or stores for our food. See?

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