Fighter pilot, Royal Navy 1945, Hydrographer Iraq 1947-52 India 1952-53, Canadian Hydrographic Arctic explorer 1953-1960, Writer-producer Canadian National Film Board 1961-72, Freelance journalist, audio-visual producer 1972-2009, National Press Club of Canada 1961 - 2006

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Common Knowledge

Fishing amid the
One day when the good ship MV Theron was anchored in northwest Hudson Bay, just off the coastal northwest barrens, I took a dory ashore and went fishing alone.
I arrived at the narrow sandy beach of a fairly large lake and as I crossed over to the lake’s edge I noticed fresh wolf tracks clearly imprinted in the sand. Tracks left by several wolves. This gave me to pause. I mean really to pause. I looked around at the undulating treeless terrain. I stood on a small rise and gazed intently around. I could see for nearly a mile but there was no sign of wolves. So I just started fishing.
After all, everyone knows that wolves never attack humans.
Everybody agrees on that.

It’s common knowledge.

I continued fishing for several hours, completely circling the lake. Every now and then I would climb the few feet of a nearby rise and scan the horizon in all directions. I saw nothing. Becoming more and more relaxed I continued my fishing.

In the evening I arrived back at my starting point and saw the footprints I had left that morning.

They were covered over in wolf tracks.

Wolf tracks on top of my tracks.

This time it didn’t give me to pause.

It gave me to scurry.

I clutched my catch and rod and made for the shoreline and the dory.

Quite casually.

As if full of common knowledge.

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