Saturday, 23 October 2010

The fear of enthusiasm

I silently dislike Nina's enthusiasm when sailing offshore. Sure, I love dolphins or a good breeze, but I would never dare to say so.

It's my belief that enthusiasm brings bad luck. Forget about umbrellas, whistling or leaving on a Friday; outspoken enthusiasm could really sink a boat.

I never had this superstition while we stayed the winter at Tapawingo. We saw a black bear not more than ten meters from our cabin door, and my enthusiasm had no limits.

photo: Henrik Nor-Hansen
But the fear of enthusiasm runs deep in the Canadian wild. Our story about the bear got played down, like "so you got to see the forest pig, aye?"

This was typical among the trappers and fishermen at Bistcho Lake; they loved wild animals, but would never dare to say so. Black bears were often called 'forest pigs', squirrels 'tree rats', and once we heard a trapper call a flock of snowy-white ptarmigans for a 'bunch of ducks'. But the lack of enthusiasm didn't seem to be for superstitious reasons.

In the wilderness you'll gain your respect through nonchalance and coolness. You have seen it all before.