Big Picture – Little Picture

I had the occasion to pay a visit to my old hometown Flin Flon, Manitoba, recently. I had not been back for some time, but this place is on the Canadian Shield and is pretty much lakes, rock, trees, and stunningly beautiful, especially in the fall. I was a guest of the community, and had been invited to make some presentations for their local Culture Days. I took the opportunity to visit a fellow author I had been linked up with but had not met. This fellow and his wife had a very small tourist camp on a lake nearby. They lived a simple life by most standards and by choice. They had raised two sons who had gone on to receive university degrees, then went on to their chosen careers.

The fellow’s name was Ingi. He had moved to this lake, built two tourist cabins that he and his wife rented out, a log home and a small fl oat plane (aluminum frame and skin plus 1,800 rivets). He was a licensed guide, trapper, wild rice harvester, and author. Ingi had lots of time to sit in the wilderness and think. Ingi is the best “bush” philosopher I have ever met. As arranged, I met him and his wife for coffee, but ended up staying for
lunch as we found we had many things to talk about. As we progressed from coffee to talk to more coffee and more talk, he said, “Norm, you seem like a big-picture person, but me, I am learning to be a little picture person.” I thought this might be interesting, so I asked for more detail.

“Well, if you look at the ‘big picture’ right now,” he said, “you see trouble in Syria, trouble brewing in Iran, the Democrats and the Republicans can’t agree on anything, the French Canadians want to separate, everyone wants Canadian oil but no pipelines, etc.” I had to agree he had
a point and he went on. “Now, take the ‘little picture.’ My wife and I are here in this beautiful paradise. We don’t disturb anyone and not much disturbs us. The folks who want to come and visit do so by choice. The sun comes up, the sun goes down. I hear the cranes and geese
heading south for the winter, and I am getting ready to be on the trap line soon. In the morning, I get in my little canoe with a cup of coffee and my fl ute and go and serenade a few muskrats and the odd moose. You see the difference?”

At this writing, the golf season is just about over here in our area. We have had a number of frost delays and that signals the end. I was out for one last game with one of my regular playing partners, and there ended up to be just the two of us. Once we played through a slower foursome on the fi fth hole, we didn’t have anyone in front of us, and soon no one behind us. The temperature was cool but the sun was out, and the leaves had just started to turn color. I told my friend Harv about the big-picture/little-picture adventure I had had with Ingi, and we had a discussion about how that related to our games. Quite often, our foursome has a small side game during our weekly round. This puts a bit of pressure on each of us, and we have to keep score and handicaps and all that required stuff. Today was different. We started keeping score as that was what we always did. I started worrying about my swing problems and the 143 swing thoughts I always had, and wondering how Harv was always outdriving me, and on and on. At the seventh hole, as we came over the top of a knoll and went by the black tees on our way to our usual white tees some ways ahead, I asked Harv if he had ever hit off the blacks. When he said no, I suggested we had the whole golf course to ourselves, so why not? Why not, indeed! End of small game, start of fun!

So, that was the beginning of the finish of one of our best days of golf this year. Standing on the elevated black tee on that number seven hole was magnifi cent. We had that long par-5 fairway ahead of us, not a scratch on the teeing area as very few play from there, trees in color, no wind, a beautiful “little picture.” Forget the worries of the world, my 143 swing thoughts, and the fall to-do lists waiting, we were the pros from Dover (old MASH movie)! We teed off from the blacks and both parred the hole!

The day just got better and better. Ingi would have been proud.

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