The end of hermit time

It’s only fitting that my partner Sam has finished up his contract job outside and is on his way home when the moose and birds are also moving…

It’s only fitting that my partner Sam has finished up his contract job outside and is on his way home when the moose and birds are also moving about again in the warmer temperatures.

This time it meant only about a couple of months alone in the woods for me and I don’t expect to be all that bushed.

Yet I already start getting nervous and racking my brain for appropriate things to say to the pilot who flies him in, wanting to appear mentally sound and well-adjusted.

It’s always the same pilot and the same scene: I end up dumbstruck and seldom manage more than a mute handshake despite working out a casual-sounding script of small talk in advance.

There’s also the urge every time to make myself more presentable by trimming my unruly hair with the kitchen scissors, and it takes a lot of firmness and self-control to convince myself that the result will not be what I desire.

Partly our mirror is to blame, possessing carnival qualities of distorting the image, so that it’s impossible to tell how one actually looks.

The shift from being a lone bush person to interacting with live human beings and welcoming my partner back into my life again is strangely exhausting for the first couple of days.

Sure, I’ve talked with people on the phone and the radio, but switching from half-hour conversations with unseen friends a couple times a week to taking in all the body language, mood and physical presence of someone takes a bit of an adjustment.

Maybe in spending so much time with just animals around, the mind becomes so keyed up in trying to gather as much information as possible about the critters around that it is overwhelming when suddenly there’s a human being again that is so easy to understand.

One obvious result is always that I end up getting hoarse from talking so much, and after a few hours become very tired.

But for now there is the pressing question as to what groceries Sam should bring in.

Hmm, good question.

Belonging to that group of people to whom food is mainly fuel, I don’t particularly care much about what I eat.

It’s a bonus in the bush, where variety and fresh foods don’t feature large in the winter time, although it drives Sam (who belongs to the other group of people to whom food is pleasure) crazy.

His inquiries as to what we should have for dinner are usually met by my laconic response of: “Oh, I don’t know, just whatever is fine.”

Poor man — so I sit and try hard to think of what we could possibly want to eat over the next weeks.

My diet in the last couple of months consisted mostly of pasta, cereal and chocolate, with the result that those supplies are getting somewhat low.

But I have the feeling that Sam would not want to load up the plane with bags of these, to him, non-vital items.

Fresh veggies and fruit is all I can think of, conveniently leaving the varieties open because, how should I know what’s looking good in the grocery store in Whitehorse.

A new snow shovel would come in handy too, but because we never manage to get to town in the few weeks where this essential item can actually be found on the store shelves, I wonder if I should even bother adding it to the shopping list.

By now the stores are most likely busy putting out the golf clubs and canoes since summer is just over three months away.

What the heck, it’s worth a try.

If they don’t have snow shovels anymore, maybe Sam can find a garden watering can, another item apparently in stock only for a few precious days and never when we are in town. I add “winter boots on sale” and figure that should do it.

I e-mail the puny list to Sam and set about preparing for his arrival in a couple of days: cleaning up, getting in some extra water and firewood.

Maybe the unavailability of snow shovels in the midst of winter would be a good conversation topic to bring up with the pilot?

Or would it sound too weird?

Glancing into the mirror, my warped image does strike me of being in definite need of a haircut. I think I’ll get the scissors and just snip away a little tiny bit.

Maybe I am bushed.

Lisa Hasselbring is a writer who lives at the headwaters of the Yukon River south of Whitehorse.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sport Yukon held its 45th annual Member Awards on Dec. 3, recognizing the achievements of nearly 80 athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators from 16 different organizations. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Sport Yukon hands out the hardware, virtually

Awards ceremony recognizes athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators

Commissioner of Yukon Anglique Bernard, in her role as Chancellor of the Order of Yukon, announced the 2020 Order of the Yukon inductees in a statement Dec. 2. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Order of Yukon inductees announced

Ten Yukoners will receive territory’s highest honour

The primary goal of the new relief package for tourism operators is to support the tourism sector, whether they’re private industry or not-for-profit organizations, said Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Relief program offers funds for businesses that rely on tourists for more than half their revenue

Two new streams of funding, in addition to the accommodation relief program, were announced

Kimberly Armstrong, creator of Glimmer of Hope, poses for a photo with examples of toys for packages she is putting together. The care packages are for children who have suffered abuse, trauma, illness or sudden loss. (Kimberly Armstrong/Submitted)
Kids experiencing trauma will receive gifts from new charity

A Whitehorse woman is compiling care packages for children who have suffered… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: Climate emergency, lite edition

Back in September 2019, Whitehorse City Council declared a climate emergency, to… Continue reading

In 1909, Joseph Kavetzki took over Brown’s Harness Shop, depicted here, reconstructed, 90 years later. Third Avenue in Dawson, south of Princess Street, was the heart of the blue collar industrial section of gold rush Dawson. (Michael Gates/Yukon News)
History Hunter: The Yukon is rich in hidden history

I had worked for a few months in my new position as… Continue reading

A sign outside the Yukon Inn Convention Centre indicates Yukoners can get a flu vaccine inside. As of Dec. 4, the vaccinations won’t be available at the convention centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse Convention Centre ends flu vaccination service early

Flu vaccinations won’t be available at the Whitehorse Convention Centre after Dec.… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Kindness, shingles and speed limits

Letters to the editor published Dec. 4, 2020

ASDF
COMMENTARY: Land use planning must include industry

Carl Schulze Special to the News This commentary is a response to… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White River First Nation to run for councillors in the 2021 election. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News File)
White River First Nation to elect new chief and council

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White… Continue reading

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new councillor in a byelection held Dec. 3. (Wikimedia Commons)
Watson Lake elects new councillor

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new… Continue reading

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Most Read