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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Spring roundup

BY Sonny Orr May 22, 2020

I’m watching the sun set and feeling a lot warmer than yesterday. Boom, just like that, spring is back, and the sun’s nice glow feels good after yet another blizzard. I’m still waiting for snowmobile parts and hoping that reviving my old machine (it’s more than 20 years old) just to haul us to our blind will do the trick until the snow melts away. 

The timing for this year’s goose season seems to have split in two. It’s been an early start for the lucky hunters inland as they enjoy the annual migration from the Quebec north shore route. The James Bay coast geese are just lining up in Abitibi, where they amass in the fields before heading north and they will probably be still underway as you read this.

This year is a special year for the animals as they tend to flourish where they aren’t constantly under pressure from human intrusion. If I were a goose, I would probably be wondering where all the humans are? Where’s the dose of corn when you need it? Is it the same up North? Nope, we are still out hunting just like every spring. No one dares question the rationale of a hunter when the first goose gets killed and the frenzied searches in dusty basements for those hip-waders and camouflage everything. Depending what your conditions are, the garments may be all white, for those hardy hunters who hide out on the ice.

Meanwhile, people’s fridges are still bulging due to the constant fear of food shortages. But the stores seem to be holding out quite well and the lineups are moving quicker. I think the most frustrating part is going to the post office, where you line up for some time only to find your mailbox empty – not even any junk mail. 

But it’s all in good cheer. Other communities are feeling the pinch as the need to socialize gets stronger as the temperature rises. I hope that this summer will be a good one. The relief of spacing your spot on a sunny beach is appealing to introverts, so I guess it balances out in the end.

I’m hoping that fishing season is about the same, saving the planet one catch-and-release at a time. I tend not to throw back fish as each one is tasty. I guess we got that one down pat, just don’t forget to share some of the food with the Elders and widows.

As for my job, I haven’t been able to deal with the usual number of people each day. I can imagine that millions of other people out there are doing the same. I have a few friends who are taking it all in stride, but there are some noticeable changes, like the scraggly beards and beady eyes from watching too much television. 

Eventually, the nice weather will change the channel and the sun’s healing rays help restore our sanity. Speaking of the sun, a rather large hole in the ozone that was sitting just above us has sealed for the first time, making skin cancer less likely for the hunters in the blinds.

Be safe, stay healthy and watch for rotten ice this spring! Happy Goose Break everyone!

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.