Somewhere up north the weather is already turning to fall. Even though it's only the beginning of September, the faint whispers of changing seasons float on the cool air. The fishing and hunting lodges are starting to close up for the season and the bush planes that swoop down to the tea colored lake surface like big insects are no longer bringing in guests. The winters are long here, and vicious, and preparations for the season must be taken far in advance. The pike are still biting at the line though, just as the swarms of mosquitos that hover around the moss covered tree stumps still buzz annoyingly in your ear. The season for the Aurora Borealis is soon to pick up as winter lies ahead, and soon the empty night sky will be pulsing with their faint pale color. Pretty soon moose season will be starting and shortly after the bears will be seeking their dens to hibernate. Though up here, in this solitude it is unlikely anyone will take a moose.
Nakina, a small town surrounded by a vast ocean of forest and lakes, is getting busier too. As the bush planes swoop in and return the hunting guides and staff home, the population of the small town has grown considerably. Everyone returning has a story from this season 'on the lake' the big moose they saw, the biggest pike they caught, the goofy city boy who fell out of the bush plane and into the cold waters of the lake. Some will stick out the winter in Nakina, moose hunting, working on arranging trips for customers for the next season, making repairs to their home, but others will leave Nakina and visit family in Toronto or travel the sportsman circuit in the US.
With the changing of the seasons the smell of campfires and stove fires is more welcoming. Like an old friend the smell of woodsmoke drifts across the vast waters of the lake and into the town of Wawa. The big goose that is the town's pride needs to be repaired before this next winter knocks it down again. The students who work at the local trading post and tourist stop are getting ready to go back to school, either at the local high school or farther away to colleges in Toronto or Waterloo.
Months from now when the last snow has melted in the shade of the pine trees, the lakes will still be there, full of life and unchanged, sometime from now when I return I know theyll be the same. As the overgrown ghosts of former settlements show, up north is a place where nature won't bend the knee to man's advances.