While you are setting there in your air conditioning, reading about this sweltering August heat, take comfort in knowing that in only three or four weeks you will see the first migrating waterfowl come through the Ozarks, the blue-winged teal, which are staging on marshes in the northern prairies of the Dakotas and Minnesota and the wetlands of Canada at this very hour. And if you are observant and have been anywhere close to a creek or river or pond lately, you have seen maturing wood-ducks in pretty good numbers right here, getting ready for their own migrations in November, whenever a good hard cold spell settles in.
Right now it is hard to think about cold spells! Still, I think I prefer August to February. Do you realize that only 75 years ago no one in the Ozarks had air conditioning? My grandpa just went about doing his work and ignored the dire warnings on the television…. Oh yeah, I forgot… they didn’t have television! The heat was something they were accustomed to, and lived with. Of course I remember there were lots of cool, clean creeks which had plenty of water then. Those creeks are dry now, and where there is water, it is much too dirty to swim in. But we have progressed to a point where we don’t need clean streams and creeks, for we have air conditioning and swimming pools.
For generations, grandsons were much like their grandfathers, and lived a life very similar to the one their grandfather lived. My grandson, however, will know nothing about the kind of life my grandfather knew. He will nearly be a different animal entirely.
And there are so many ways that is a very good thing… but there are some ways it is not so good. It might be that what my grandfather could survive, my grandson will not be able to live with at all.
I think it is important that our generation pass on to, and teach our grandchildren about, the wisdom, the customs, beliefs, and knowledge our grandfathers had, which will be lost without it. And some might say it is of no importance that a coming generation remembers or knows how to do the things our ancestors knew. After all, there never will come a time we do not have enough oil or electricity or water, or food, right?
My grandson will never need to know how to set a trotline or how to hunt squirrels and clean them, or how to make a tonic from the roots of plants to treat some ailment. But I think I will teach him anyway.
Larry Dablemont currently writes a weekly newspaper column for 35 newspapers, publishes the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal, has written seven books, and can be heard on KWTO AM 560 Radio Springfield each Sunday morning on The Larry Dablemont Outdoor Program. He and his wife reside in Bolivar, Missouri. You can read some of Larry’s current and older posts at his blog, Outdoors with Larry Dablemont, and visit his Lightnin’ Ridge Facebook page.