What connects you to your family?
Frozen lakes and ponds give the impression of desolation and death, leaving little to the imagination of those driving by. If solid sheets of ice look boring to the passerby, imagine trying to explain the fun of staring at an eight inch hole in the ice for hours upon end. Patience and willingness to brave incredible wind and cold in pursuit of the aquatic life beneath the ice requires you to be driven, or touched. Selling the idea to someone else takes an incredible amount of enthusiasm, and a stroke of stupidity at times as well. But as is the case, everyone has someone, or even a few people in their lives, who will never say no to a good adventure. Either they are as touched as you, love the thrill of adventure, or both.
Gray clouds dimmed the atmospheric lights in the Superbowl Sunday late afternoon. Wind buzzing from the North made our hunting blind turned ice fishing shanty feel like we were wearing toilet paper. How dumb do you really have to be to be out there? We could be at home ready to chow down on hot pizza and pulled pork. But the idea of giant perch drove us both insane.
The silent stares of my brother and I at the three ice holes in front of us said more than words. In-fact, the silence was richer than words. The only words which really mattered here were: “getting a bite, watch that pole, got one, pass the minnows, and, stand up I need to throw this perch into the cooler.” The silence which we shared in the dimly lit hunting blind spoke to the strength of a friendship and brotherhood. A silent understanding. Only those who share the same ice in their veins of silent understanding can stand each other enough to trek into the mountains of ridiculousness. I mean honestly, only complete knuckleheads can call silently staring at jig poles on the cold ice for hours one of the best adventures of their life.
After an hour of not catching anything on the cold ice, most people would turn to their partner and want to leave. Since Austen and I share the same veins of ice, our silence meant, “we stick this out until he have to leave.” But when you share the same veins of ice, you figure things out until a solution is found. By mixing and matching, trying different depths and jigging movements in silent determination, we found a combination which worked.
I couldn’t help but laugh at Austen’s antics every-time he missed a bite. Actually, we both would act like little kids each time we missed a bite. Unlike the middle of summer when perch seem to be much more aggressive, hooking one of these fish in the middle of winter can be compared to the finesse of dancing. Movements too early or too late result in a blown attempt in front of perch who have the decision tastes of Olympic judges. Austen became a master of this finesse fishing. Watching the tap, tap, tap of his pole for the right moment, “finding the touch”. Eventually he scored a 13 inch jumbo perch. I could see the golden radiance of the monster perch through the other holes as it came to the surface. Our eyes were large with the astonishment of victory. For a brief moment, we were as loud as the Seahawks nation would be later in the evening.
5:30pm rolled around leaving us with an hour until the Superbowl and guests were already at our house. We smiled at each other, we shared the same veins of ice, we moved together as one unit. Sharing the same veins of ice does not refer to just ice-fishing, but the same focus, drive, love and enthusiasm you share with another person for adventure. Sharing veins of ice means regardless of terrain, conditions, or time, external environments are never subject to the word no.
Who do you share veins of ice with? What connects you deeper than words with your friends or family? Can you identify it?