It’s not about the fish

Today I am feeling very Minnesotan. I overcame set aside my fear of walking on our frozen lake, and I joined Michael and the girls on this season’s first ice fishing adventure. The girls are veteran ice fishermen fishing chics, having gone out last winter and the winter before as well.  Anyway, here’s the proof that I really was out there.

I went today, for my first time, because I wanted to take pictures and because Michael really, really wanted me to go. He and his buddies recently joined forces to buy the ice house from another buddy who moved away. I haven’t seen Michael this excited since he put the sailboat in the water for the first time!

Trudging through the deep snow to cross to the middle of the lake where our shared ice house sits was especially strange because that’s usually the same part of the lake where we sail our boat in the summer! Only the shoreline doesn’t usually look like this.

“Should we really be doing this?” I kept asking myself. How odd for me to now walk on water, albeit deeply frozen and covered with knee-deep snow in some places.  How odd for me to follow Michael and my children who wore snowpants in lieu of life jackets and rode in a sledding tube instead of a sailboat. 

But the difficulty of maneuvering through the deep snow helped me not think so much about the icy waters below me, and it helped me file those “worse case scenarios” far back in my mind.

Welcome to our home sweet home on the lake!

The ice house culture, I have learned, is really not so much about catching fish. It’s more of a 10-year-old boy’s mentality of escaping to a secret tree house or fort where moms and sisters do not dare to tread. It’s about having a place where normal household rules and expectations do not apply.

It’s about eating too many snacks too close to mealtime, and no one nagging you.

It’s about hanging out with your closest buddies.

It’s about being outside in the fresh cold air.

And the fishing part? Well that  just makes it sound more official, dontcha know?

Today it was good that we packed goldfish crackers as a snack, because those were the only fish we saw. But that didn’t matter. I experienced ice fishing as firsthand as I legally could without a fishing license. I was really intrigued to peer down into the hole and see the lake water.

The sunlight makes such an eery glow in the icy waters.

Lunchtime drew near, so we headed back across the lake toward the marina where our truck was parked.

En route, we crossed paths with the marina owner, who was busy plowing the snow to make the road to one of the villages of ice houses.

 The ice is about 12-inches thick right now, but soon folks will be driving their trucks out to their ice houses. And the next time Michael takes the girls fishing, he will probably drive right up to the ice house. Oh, this mama does not like the thought of her precious babies driving on ice!

But at least all that ice fishing helps them sleep well!

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