Winter has arrived in middle Georgia and it always gets me down. I sneaked a look at my temperature gauge this morning and it registered a frosty 21 degrees. I stepped out on the back deck and the wind was clipping along at about 20 knots, making the wind chill factor about 60 degrees below my tolerance level. Rumor had it that it was so cold the chickens were lining up at KFC to wait their turn in the pressure cooker and Kim Kardashian was downgraded from hot to tepid.
I’m mighty glad I don’t live in North Dakota, Minnesota or one those other Canadian Provinces. I’d be a raving lunatic by the time spring arrived.
Those of you who know me may think that the old boy’s blood is getting thin and are seriously questioning my toughness. I must admit both are valid points and I will not attempt to refute them but the point is that this type of weather puts quite a damper on the outdoor activities that I dearly love.
I should admit that I was recently talked into going to Lake Oconee by one of my seriously impaired fishing buddies, and when we put in at Long Shoals boat ramp the thermometer clocked in at 29 degrees. By the time we had reached a full head of steam in his boat the wind chill factor was nearing absolute zero and my skinny body was frozen into a solid state from which I have only recently thawed out. The only thing I caught on that idiotic foray was the flu.
That error in judgment aside I have not strayed outside too often in recent days and currently am in the throes of a raging case of cabin fever, for which the only cure is warmer weather.
As I forlornly sit through another cold day, thoughts rush through my head on the merits of winter. This is the only thing I can think of to do. Got to look at the positive side of things. For example, there is no grass to cut, no weedeater to run, no tomatoes to plant. All of these are excellent considerations that help me pass the time and, to some extent, soothe the symptoms of my aforementioned affliction.
As I continued to rationalize on the good attributes winter has to offer I reflected back on some of the unfortunate incidents that have happened to me in previous spring, summer and fall seasons. Many of these episodes have to do with my ongoing battles with insects. Most recently, I have been chased by yellow jackets and some particularly nasty hybrid version of black bees, both of which were extremely ill-tempered and much swifter than I. They inflicted stern punishment on me for disturbing their ground dwellings. This summer, I discovered ticks on my body in places that are unmentionable in a family newspaper. In another instance I was nearly bitten to death by a horde of ants who gained entrance through a hole in the back of my pants when I inadvertently flung them all over me while running the weedeater.
Other warm weather run-ins with various members of the insect world include an encounter with a hornet nest while drifting down a river, sneaky little sand gnats (aka no-see-ums) that deviously wreaked havoc over 90 percent of my body, as well as your garden-variety incidents with mosquitoes and wasps.
One thing I’ve discovered about these chance encounters with stinging and biting insects is that it can have the effect of lowering my vocabulary to gutter level. I will admit to using the occasional mild four-letter word when aggravated about something. However, if inescapably caught with a colony of ants in my underwear those four-letter words can easily turn into 10- or 12-letter words that are quite unseemly. At the extreme end of the spectrum are situations like running into a big fat hornets nest on the river. In those instances one’s vocabulary can swiftly decline into bad words that are so long they have to be hyphenated.
None of these unfortunate things will happen to me during winter time and like I said, I’m looking for the positives, but to tell you the truth it’s just not a very convincing argument.
I suppose I’ll just sit around and yearn for spring time with its higher temperatures, longer days, grass cutting chores and biting insects. At least the opportunities will be there to go fishing, play golf, or just sit on the deck in the warm sun and take in the scenic beauty of my surroundings.
With much gnashing of teeth, I impatiently look forward to its arrival as I continue to fight off the debilitating effects of cold weather, boredom and cabin fever.
Articles and columns by Alvin Richardson about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports appear weekly in the Statesboro Herald. Richardson can be reached at email@example.com.