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.

Just Posted

Northwestel says it is investigating into the cause of the total communications blackout throughout the territory after a power failure in Whitehorse on Wednesday night.
Internet outage prompts criticism on Dempster fibre project delays

The Liberals responded that they have proceeded cautiously to avoid high costs.

A motorcycle with driver pulled over on the right side of the North Klondike Highway whose speed was locked in at 171 kilometres per hour. (Courtesy/Yukon RCMP)
Patrols of Yukon highways find poorly-secured loads, intoxicated drivers

The ongoing patrols which police call ‘Operation Cooridor’ is mainly focused on commercial vehicles.

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

More than 25,000 people have received the firsdt dose of the vaccine, according to the Yukon government. (Black Press file)
Yukon has now vaccinated 76 per cent of eligible adults

The territory has surpassed its goal of 75 per cent as a first step toward ‘herd immunity’

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Most Read