There is still open water here. Too much water drains from one basin of Lake Manitoba to the other for it not to be. But loose ice has formed elsewhere out into the lake. I’ve always considered it a particularly dangerous time to be near water…this and ice-out in the spring. The north shore is forty miles distant through that little opening.
I crossed this bridge nine hours earlier in the dark. I was up at three and left home at four. It took three hours to get here then. And a wind warning was up for 100 kph winds. The farm lane was blown in and I barely got out in a four wheel drive pickup…1995. On the way down the road regularly disappeared in the dark in the blowing snow.
In Winnipeg they set a #200 Jon boat on top of the truck with a forklift and left me to fend for myself in extreme wind and cold. I could work a while and then had to stop and thaw my hands. It took an hour to strap seven straps into place. I crawled up and stood on the hood. Three one ton straps in front. And two behind. And one on each of two racks. The boat was full of ice.,,an inch of ice that did not beat out like the guy driving the forklift had said it would. But it didn’t come out, nor did it bother him as he turned and left with a meagre apology for not having thawed out the rig and removing the water for me. His body said that he didn’t like his job in a city swarming with people who mindlessly scurried like cockroaches; hey he was just trying to hang on til retirement. What can I say?
For three hours I carried on north through St. Laurent, Lundar, Ericsdale, Lake Manitoba, and Vogar. Crawling really. praying that the wind would not rip the boat from its nest. And then at The Narrows the wind died down. Within a few miles I was driving 100. And soon I fell in behind a semi and we drive through the dark all the way home in tandem. What should have been ten hours turned into sixteen. And I was again at rest. Exhausted but at rest.
The next day we unloaded it with one of my neighbour’s tractors in his yard and I drove back down with a flat deck and hauled it home and unloaded it and now it sits in my yard.
Waiting. I can tell the boat is really excited to be here.
And the next step is to outfit this. A simple boat. Selling other items to buy it, a purchase at this time of the year meant a savings of $300+. But just as Kipling stated that a cigar is a smoke, so this nimble Jon boat is a float trip through some of the most nutrient-rich and remote areas that its guest could ever imagine. A dream of providing respite for others for decades, even though I myself have experienced this place.
And all that remains is that for those with ears to hear, let them hear. And it doesn’t matter who…