In January, summer seems like the season that never happens. There are pictures, and some anecdotes featuring you in warm weather clothing, but it went so fast you wonder if it was really two months of your life, or a two-hour movie you memorized.
But it’s here. It’s now.
One of the hidden pleasures is the stress-free, total relaxation (dare I say euphoric?) summer nap. Do not misunderstand me here, I am not one of those people that love sleeping more than being awake, nor do I love 15-minute breaks from consciousness more than the fishing, camping and hiking I will be doing, but there is nothing wrong with intense relaxation away from the couch.
Monday after a day filled with exploring Sonoma with Mom (I went to the Leland Fly-Fishing Ranch), I closed my eyes on a park bench in the city square long enough to take a nap inventory.
I’ve napped at the top of Vernal Falls in Yosemite, the tallest mountain on Prince of Wales Island and next to the Skeena River, the iconic Canadian steelhead river. Amazon.com sells, “Relaxing River: River Sounds White Noise Nature CD” for $13.97. I bet it’s nothing like my Skeena memory. Some people get so driven, or caught up in the objective of a trip, they couldn’t possibly relax enough drool which is kind of missing the point of getting out. Naps are not a necessity, of course, and I only indulge maybe one in ten trips, but an occasional siesta by the river can complete the experience.
There is a spot on the Upper Sacramento River with a gentle slope of finely settled pebbles and sand that provides the perfect support for a 15 minute break from catching trout. The soft peaty ground on the Thorne and Klawock Rivers back home make almost every stretch of land comfortable. Some might be terrified at the thought of taking a nap in bear country, but a bear’s natural reaction when seeing a person is to flee. They don’t think, “Hey, that dude looks like a napper…I’m gunna sample his ulna while he’s sleeping.”
With more than 18-hours of daylight and extended twilights and dawns, there is a ton of time to not only be productive, but get in a little snooze and feel completely good about it. I’ve been known to wake up at 4:30, get to the river by 5:45, catch my limit and be back home, cleaned up and napping on the living room floor by noon. Refreshed and recombobulated, there’s still more than nine hours to chop firewood, head back to the river for catch and release, then to the guide shack at the Fireweed Lodge for a bonfire.
Last summer on a camping trip a quorum of ravens started singing to the rising sun at 3:45. By 4:15 we gave up trying to sleep and were fishing. By the time we got home, we were pretty spent. Two of us awoke after a half hour snooze, then started chopping firewood. The other dude took a nice long nap until the wood was chopped and stacked. I didn’t question the timing.
So ladies and gentlemen, get away from the recliner, and earn yourself a nap this summer – winter is getting closer with each day.