Winter Daydreams of Summer Camp Adventures

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The holi-daze is over. I’m still full of lefse and green bean casserole, but starving for something else. Winter coziness and unlimited streaming are losing their luster. I haven’t seen the sun since it shattered high-temperature records on Minne-Snowta’s snowless Christmas. Did I really just order boots for my dog? And where are the colorful birds by the feeder? I couldn’t tell you– the three-and-a-half walls of my living room have dulled my senses.

Scan social media and you may find your friends’ “#ThrowbackThursday” selfies captioned, “Miss this,” featuring bodies of water or high altitude. The seasonal shift to restlessness and noisy winter groans by grocery store exits can only mean one thing: Summer is coming.

Summer’s yin is more meaningful after experiencing winter’s yang. Beginning in five months, droves of people will flee to the Northwoods to escape mind-numbing day-to-day routines that winter exasperated. We are grateful for our comfortable stick homes and concrete jungles, yet momma nature subtly infiltrates our daydreams when cooped up too long.

The dulling effects of winter indoors are not strong enough to hamper summer fantasies. The phones are ringing and the emails are dinging in the offices of outfitters in Ely. January is for trip planning– Boundary Waters permits go on sale at the end of the month. Even my fifth Little Triangle trip in three years sounds like a grand adventure at this point. I might even let the campers pack granola for breakfast, though I swore my 127,945th handful in 2019 would be my last.

Somewhere deep down, we all yearn for the stimulus and alertness being outside demands. Wake up! We’re about to paddle into a rock. Look at that structure in the eddy! Get the wacky worms out and wet your line. The campfire is dying! Find some dry, wrist-sized wood fast before our popcorn stops popping prematurely. Was that a wolf? No, it’s a loon. There isn’t time to be anywhere but the present when outside, and if you’re lucky, zero cell coverage to tempt you into entering that world.

Alas, summer around here only exists in my head. For now, I’ll pause Netflix long enough to put the boots on my dog and go on a trip to the mailbox. I hope we see a colorful bird.

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