We probably take winter for granted in these parts, but imagine how the site of dozens -- hundreds -- of ice houses on a frozen lake must look to the rest of the world.
A flying acquaintance, Alex Peterson, flew over Lake Mille Lacs this weekend and provided a couple of photos for a Texas-based Web site.
There are probably some sociological studies to be done about why we put ice houses next to each other on a vast lake, when we're trying to --among other things -- "get away from it all."
Of course, these are like the lost cities, since they must disappear in less than two weeks.
I forgot how satisfying ice fishing was till i was in the middle of a winter slump. A good friend piped in and said, "you need some time out side". I had been burning the candle at both ends with school, low paying job, commuting and a whole lot of stress and anxiety. Something magic happens out on the ice, the first few steps on a frozen lake, with its tell tale "thung!". That sound floats through you and just vibrates up in to the heavens. Shear ecstacy! This might not fit everyone, but I feel it in my bones. I think it's the seperation from nature we operate under currently. To spend your time out in the winter elements, it puts things in to perspective. The nature of life and things. To wait for a bite, it requires that extremely rare commodity, patience. Time on the ice is like many out door pursuits, hunting, hiking, fishing, tracking, birdwatching. We go outside looking for something, what we find is ourselves.
I have to admit, I miss fishing. I used to go out with my dad a lot, usually offshore near Newburyport, Mass. I like to sit outside and do nothing...just listen...just be. Somewhere along the line, I, too, got away from that.
I don't have a boat, so it's a little problematic. When my kids were small, we went to one of those "Take a Kid Fishing" weekends where you didn't need a license. So we -- my two boys and wife -- went up to Silver Lake in Oakdale, I think.
Neither of my kids, like their dad, is or was particular patient, but one caught a small perch. It had been decades since I removed a hook and this one swallowed it. I should've just clipped the line, but I tried to get the hook out and in the process, I pretty much killed the fish.
But, like a dope, I put it back in the water, hoping it would swim away. But it didn't. It just sort of floated along the whole dock, so every kid and his father that day could see my sheer stupidity.
My kids watched the fish for a few minutes, it twitched maybe once, and then continud to float. Then one of them said forlornly, "I want to go home."
And we did, never return to the sport of fishing.
"why we put ice houses next to each other on a vast lake"
If one is seeking fish, it is best to go where fish go. It is the fish, not the fishermen who are social.