When I finally got on the ice this winter, a big wave washed over me. It rolled down from the sandhills onto the lake shore, and then flowed out onto the ice.
As I was immersed, I thought of something I wrote years ago:
All of those memories and more come flooding over me every time I walk onto sandhills ice. There is just something about that place that washes over me. I still get excited at the thought of fishing there, especially ice-fishing. Jittery trying to get there as fast as I can. Somewhere in those acres of water, weed beds, and bulrushes swim some of the prettiest fish on earth. Somewhere underneath that ice is the biggest bluegill I have ever seen and one of these days I am going to catch it!
There is something about those hills, those unique, glorious sandhills, ridge after ridge as far as you can see. It is the smell, the quiet, the solitude, the wind on my face, the cool air in my lungs. When I finally get there, it just oozes into me. I breath it, feel it, taste it, hear it, smell it. When I finally get the holes drilled and the first lines baited and dropped in the water, I sit down on my bucket and suddenly I am just entirely relaxed. “Ah”, a big exhale. A glance at the bobbers.
Everything is right in the world because I am finally . . . HOME AGAIN.
Now, where are those big bluegills?