I often say the fun should last at least as long as the time it took to get there. That can be construed in different ways, I know, but what I mean is if I drive 3 hours to go hunting, the hunt should last at least 3 hours. Of course it doesn’t always work out – I remember driving up to Blackduck Lake to fish for walleyes, which takes about an hour, and sitting at the dock, in the truck, waiting for the deluge of rain to end. It never did. At least not while Dad and I waited. I don’t mind fishing in the rain, but that time was ridiculous. Parked at the landing a few feet from the dock, we could see the end of the dock, but not much beyond. We drank our coffee on the way home.
I’m glad I only hold that rule to the travel time. In a week the crew and I will drive a long day to go trout fishing in Montana. Then we’ll fish for a number of long days and drive home. It makes sense and seems right. When l count the travel time vs. activity time, I’m not including the hours spent getting ready. Good thing, because I’ve been getting ready for this trip for months.
Sometimes I think the “getting ready” gets in the way of the actual “doing.” Especially when it comes to all the projects to do around the house. I’ve got a few hammer and nails type projects pending and it’s like “don’t worry, I’m getting ready.” I feel like I’m always getting ready for something.
There are less obvious, but perhaps more important ways of getting ready. Ways that any outdoorsy folk would recognize as sensible. Life is short and so are the weekends, and when I spent a couple of those spring weekends following bird dogs around at field trials I was actually getting valuable and needed exercise that will come in handy for just about any summer adventure I partake in. The times I spent limbering up the fly rod trying for steelhead may have seemed like time wasted to the casual observer, but getting ready for upcoming fly fishing by early season practice casting can’t be discounted. This morning’s mountain bike ride may have seemed like a good way to get out of yard work, but the cardio benefit of off-road pedaling has got to help – if it doesn’t do me in first.
After I put my bike away I pulled a chair out in front of the garage and sat down. Aha! Says the industrious type. Resting is it, wasting the day away?! Well, I was sort of resting, true. That biking isn’t as easy as it used to be, but if you looked closer you’d have seen I was trimming deer hair flies into some sort of useful shape. I’ve got a big trip planned for late summer and I’m gonna need some pink and chartreuse pollywogs. Again, I’m just getting ready!
Once in a while I looked over at Jack, who was sitting quietly staring up at the birch tree. There was a squirrel in the tree planning to make its way to the feeder to swipe the seeds I put out for my favorite rose-breasted grosbeaks. The squirrel nervously inched down the tree. Jack was getting ready, too.
Not every stage of getting ready involves preparing for something big, of course. More mundane, everyday tasks provide good cause, also. Like yesterday morning. I snuck out in the canoe for a short while, just long enough to catch one little river walleye barely big enough to fit alongside some eggs. I was getting ready for breakfast!