Outdoor Adventures

Posted 1/27/21

Writer’s Block or Lack of Focus By Brian G. Schommer I believe “it” has finally happened, and I do not like it. I feel that I may be experiencing Writer’s Block. This is a condition when an …

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Outdoor Adventures


Writer’s Block or Lack of Focus

By Brian G. Schommer

I believe “it” has finally happened, and I do not like it. I feel that I may be experiencing Writer’s Block. This is a condition when an author loses the ability to produce new work. My creativity does not seem to be flowing as freely as it has in the past, and, by in the past, I mean almost all my life. I have had several ideas on what this column’s focus should be bouncing around in my melon like a steel ball in a pinball machine. It seems that nothing I write “sticks” and whatever direction I was heading ends up dropping between the flippers, forcing me to set another ball into motion. So far, this column has been about ice fishing, looking forward to spring (baseball), snowmobiling, holiday lights still up and lit and finally, heading somewhere warm for a week. I have done more type, delete, type more, change wording, add a little humor, realize the comment was not really funny, delete, write more, change more, delete more type editing in an hour, which is about a half an hour longer than it normally takes me to knock out an entire column, and I am not past the first paragraph. I am reminded of the words that a good snowmobiling buddy of mine often says if we venture off trail. “It is in times like these, we just have to look straight ahead and give ‘er hell.” So, here goes… I hope we all enjoy the ride.

The ride… on January 20, my buddy Terry and I took a ride to the Chisago City, Lindstrom, Center City area on Highway 8 to do some ice fishing because the action around here was slower than molasses in January and, being it is January, we figured maybe the molasses might be sweeter a bit further north. The fishing was not what we had hoped for, although there were plenty of fish to be caught. “Keepers” were at a minimum and, while Crappies and Walleyes were our target, we had more luck with the Sunnies and a few Perch. As always, we had a great time and got to break in his new Clam Voyager X Thermal ice shelter. He also found that his new “Tickle Stick,” (a new ice fishing pole that is ultra-sensitive allowing one to feel the slightest bite by even the smallest fish) worked as advertised. He caught a perch that was about the size of the Sucker Minnows we were using for Walleyes and while the size of the fish did not create any “brag” opportunity, just hooking something that small and bringing it in is nothing short of impressive. “Now that takes skill,” he laughed as he tossed the little guy back into the lake. We had a great lunch at a little café and gave the staff a hard time, which they seemed to enjoy and dished it right back to us. We did not get skunked and we made some memories, so the ride was enjoyed.

Another ride I have been itching to do is on my sled. The fresh snow we got was nice, but the timing was not the best for my schedule. I know, I could go ditch pounding to get some miles in and rumor is the trails are decent. A nice trail ride to enjoy the scenery along the way, maybe see some wildlife and stop at small town hangouts… that is my way of snowmobiling. I am thinking, as the old church song says, “Soon and Very Soon” I will be getting the Polaris fired up and on the trails. There are a few folks that I know share my feelings and are as ready as I am to get out there. Give me a holler and we can hit it together.

Anyone else missing baseball right now? I know that seems to have come out of left field (see what I did there), but sometimes that silver ball hits a bumper and goes a totally different direction when playing pinball. With the St. Paul Saints becoming the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, the opportunities for enthusiasts to see some more high-level baseball here in Minnesota will increase. Ticket prices are remaining the same, the off-field shenanigans enjoyed during Saints games are not going away and CHS Field is a fantastic venue to watch a game. Like most things in life, it will be a wait and see situation that I am looking forward to seeing, but not until we get some more snow and hit the trails. Just like that, the ball just hit another bumper and once again, it is rolling in a different direction. The creativity seems to be coming back… I may finish this column before deadline yet.

Did you put up outdoor lights this past fall/winter? I say lights without denoting what kind because some folks I have talked with simply call them “the lights.” Many people prefer to call them “Christmas” lights while still others feel because they leave them on past December 25th, that indeed they are “Holiday” lights, as they leave them lit throughout the winter. The ones on our house are still lit but the “blow-ups and moving lights” have been unplugged. We still have some lighting in one of our trees still lit in addition to the house lights. The talk has been to unplug them but then we think how pretty they are and how happy something as simple as lights on a house can make a person feel. If the lights can help spread a little happiness, what is the harm of leaving them lit? They may not get unplugged until Spring.

Ding, ding, ding goes the pinball machine as it appears that my last shot just launched me into “bonus ball” time. I was recently talking to a close friend who was going to get away for a few days to Florida for some natural rejuvenation of Vitamin D from the sun. Winter can really be a bummer for some people. The cold, snow, more clouds than sun and being “stuck” inside just drags them down. When you are feeling down in the dumps, finding motivation to do anything, let alone choosing to get out the skates, play a little hockey, go sledding, snowshoeing, cross country or downhill skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling or even to build a snowman (how many started singing either Frosty the Snowman or Do You Want to Build a Snowman?) is not an easy choice to make. Even for a guy like me that loves winter and getting out and enjoying various winter activities, the temperature influences my final decision. Taking a break from our Minnesconsin winter is something many would love to do but, the time, financial means or in most cases, combination of both make it impossible. If you struggle with winter, instead of going to grandiose measures and “making a full day” commitment to an outdoor activity, might I suggest having a bonfire, grilling or checking out a local eatery with a heated patio, tent or igloos. It will get you outside, the effort will be minimal (unless you think you need to be like Bobby Flay or some other Food Network Chef) and you will get some much-needed fresh air, stay warmer than you would flying down a slope at Welch Village or Afton Alps and maybe even partake in some much-needed social interaction with others which may also help get you out of the dumps. Making the decision to get out and do things is the key… I remind you, it is “in times like these, we just have to look straight ahead and give ‘er hell.” I guess I did not have Writer’s Block… I just had to look straight ahead and… you know the rest. Now, it is time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.