There’s something about these ice fishing huts that brings up a feeling a nostalgia for me. I’ve never been in one, nor do I really care for smelts, but I love seeing them pop up every winter.
A few weeks ago, as I was driving back home from Cocagne, I saw the little huts standing still on the middle of the frozen bay, and I just had to stop and take a picture. It was probably -20°C and windy, I had a 6 year old with me, and we parked in front of a “no trespassing” sign, but I just went with the moment anyways. I stopped, dragged my daughter out of the car and tried to take a half-decent picture and just enjoy the stillness of the moment.
The nostalgia I feel when I see these is a longing for a slower pace of life. Even in the Maritimes, where things are supposedly slower than in the rest of the country, I still get overwhelmed by the increasing demands of society. Meetings, more productivity, more children after school activities, longer work hours, working on weekends, etc. Where did the time when we could sit around for an afternoon in our fishing hut, sit down for good conversation, or to read a good book, or when we weren’t expected to check our work email after dinner, or even bring any work at home at night? When did we get so caught up in doing, that we forgot about just being and enjoying the moment?
Most people who know me know that I live at a fairly slow pace. My favourite animals are sloths and turtles, which likely divulges a lot about my pace of life right there – I don’t function well when things are too fast-paced. Anxiety and overwhelm kick-in pretty quickly when things are too fast. It’s just not me, and I’ve learned to respect that about myself. What I notice though is that I don’t think I’m the odd out by choosing to live at a turtle’s pace. When I look around me, I see people who are pushing through overwhelm to meet deadlines, who just keep going because they have to, despite the stress, fatigue or cold they’re trying to fight, and people who are running to get to the next thing before they’re even finished what they’re doing NOW – I think some of these people would perhaps enjoy a slower pace of life. I know how it feels because I’ve done this, and I did it until I couldn’t do it anymore.
This doing until we can’t do it anymore means we’ve gone too far. We get red flags when it’s time to slow down – constant colds, anxiety, feeling tired but can’t sleep, feeling irritable, having food cravings. These come up when it’s time to slow down, but we generally push through – until we can’t anymore. In the middle of it all, we need the little reminders to just step out of the never ending to-do list for a moment.
For me, seeing these little fishing huts is one of the those reminders to slow down to enjoy and appreciate what we have and being aware of where we want to go, to take care of ourselves by respecting our needs and our limits, to take those moments to enjoy just “being” and not feel guilty about not “doing”. And on that cold day, taking the time for the little detour to enjoy and try to capture a moment of stillness!
Dr Renée Purdy is a naturopathic doctor in Moncton, New Brunswick. In her practice, she values making health achievable and long lasting. She likes to explore the mind, body, spirit connection in health, and her approach includes using food as medicine, herbal medicine, acupuncture and lifestyle counselling. Her focus is on digestive health, hormone balance, thyroid health and adrenal fatigue.