I had a couple INCREDIBLE days this week at our provincial forestry conference.
Forestry makes my heart sing.
Do you know what that is like?
I love everything about forestry, all aspects of the profession, love reading about it, hearing about it, and when I’m with forestry people I feel like I’m with family.
The impact of that on me is probably exaggerated because I’m currently working in a field where I feel none of these things and don’t connect with the people.
I feel recharged and refocused. Life is good.
The dinner and social night was really great this year.
I laughed. I clapped. I made new friends. I drank beer.
Rather than retreat back to my hotel room after the crowd got scarce, I joined my new friends at a couple of after party parties back in the hotel rooms.
I ended up in a hot, sauna like hotel room on the top floor of the hotel with 25 foresters and forest technicians.
One guy had a guitar and a harmonica and sang all the old guitar classics.
A jar of pickled herring was being passed around.
This was new. I don’t remember pickled herring ever making an appearance at our Ontario parties. I passed on the herring.
At one point I had a plastic glass of $250/bottle Cognac in one hand, and a warm can of Coors Light in the other.
I loved the Cognac.
But I am such a lightweight these days.
After a long hot hotel shower in the morning I felt good to go for the last morning’s presentations.
But I shouldn’t have skipped breakfast.
With nothing but a couple Coca-Cola’s in my stomach, the trouble began.
By the time the conference wrapped up, I had a full blown headache, gut rot, heart burn, aches and pains, and a fear of bright light.
I bolted for some fast food saviour soak-it-all-up-and-sweat-it-back-out food.
Minutes later I was parked in a convenience store, deperately trying to calculate how I could drive home with my eyes closed, and even better if I could find out how to do that from the backseat.
I checked in with Jeff and he had an errand all set up for me. I had to drive 40 minutes in the opposite direction to pick up a package for him from a guy in a house. Don’t worry, he’s reputable, he said. And you better hurry up because he has to leave soon to get his grandson from school, so get going.
I shuffled into the store and bought some extra-strength Advil to go with my Wendy’s french fries.
I didn’t want to do anything that required any extra effort, so I skipped getting gas. And I skipped plugging in the GPS.
I was going to wing it.
And it would have worked too, if the damn Department of Transportation didn’t insist on replacing all our logical on and off ramps with rotaries. When I got to the right exit, I successfully navigated the first round-about and got over to the other side of the expressway, but there were so many ins and outs for this one and signs everywhere, and oh such bright sun, that I ended back up on the expressway going back where I came from.
And I had to keep going because the only way to turn around was going to be at the next exit.
And it was 10 kilometres away.
On my second attempt, I aced the rotaries and navigated the next 6km to find the house in question. Jeff said this guy had a little business in his house and he had a seat cover for the back seat of his new truck so Monty won’t get it all dirty.
I rang the doorbell and a man with a long white beard opened the door and said “Yes, you are in the right place, follow me.”
In no time, I found myself in a basement, with my hands full of knives.
This one will cut up and down, he said, so you can gut ’em.
Here, hold this one. Feel the grip and the handle? Compare it to this one.
This one is perfect for combat after jumping out of a plane.
See how you can wear this one around your neck?
Whoa. Hello sobriety. Hello gigantic knife that could surely cut down a large tree.
For the next ten minutes, I played with knives, examined survival gear and packs and fire starting gadgets. I tried on Muck boots (and was completely converted and will never buy anything else) and learned about the sharpener a guy used to sharpen his hatchet so it could slice paper.
I went into that basement feeling like death warmed over, with a voice 2 octaves too low.
I left that basement a warrior.
And that got me home.
Today… I am still feeling a little rough.
Soon… I should probably start building up my tolerance for next year’s bash.
But first… I’m going to google that 16.5″ survival knife.
Because… you just never know.