I’ve never been lost in a forest, or a jungle. Because I’ve never been lost for a long time in one of those places I’ve never had a chance to get really, really hungry. And since I’ve never been all that hungry I’ve never had to fashion a trap in the hopes that some unsuspecting animal would walk, or crawl, or hop, into it so that I might club it over the head and cook it over a fire. I’ve also never had to make a fire without the aid of a match or a lighter, so there’s a good chance that if I had caught that animal I’d have to eat it raw. And because I don’t eat raw meat, there’s an even better chance that I’d die of starvation while looking at my dinner, the raw one that I caught in the trap that I had to build because I was in the jungle, lost.
I’m not so good with ropes, not as a kid at the Williams Bay Elementary School and not as an adult either, so I’d probably have to make my trap a crude one. It would need to be reliant on gravity, so I’d probably find a hole in the ground, or dig one if I had the good fortune of being lost in the jungle with a shovel. Once I had found, or dug, this hole, I’d put some sharp sticks in the bottom of it, facing up. I’d sharpen those sticks with my knife, which I would make sure to have along, unless I forgot to pack it. Once I had my pit o’ pointy sticks, I’d set some very light grasses over the hole, camouflage like, so that my prey wouldn’t be able to detect even the slightest thing amiss.
Now, it’s clear that if this was my chosen method of capture I have limited myself to some larger animal, perhaps a wild boar, or an elephant, or a bear, which means the hole I dig must be very, very large, otherwise the elephant would simply push its foot through into the trap and while the sharpened sticks might hurt it some, they certainly wouldn’t kill it, which would leave me hiding in the bushes while an angry, moderately injured elephant scans its surroundings looking for who caused it this inconvenience. I’d probably build that trap and then wait all day for something to fall into it, but nothing would, until many days later when my thirst and hunger drove me to delusions and I wandered into my own trap. Oh, the expected irony.
Since we’re not in the jungle, not one made of vines and swamps and snakes anyway, we likely won’t have to make such a trap, though there has been one set for us. We are the prey here, and we must be vigilant. The lake has frozen mostly over. It froze over last Sunday, for the most part, and since then there has been snow, much of it. Snow every day it seems, which reminds me of the time I spent a weekend at my brother’s dorm at the University of Minnesota, minus all the desperation. The snow has concealed a very thin layer of ice, and this is our trap. It’s dangerous, this ice, and if we are to survive to see another summer we must stay away from it. It looks secure, and solid, and tempting, but I assure you it is no less a trap than the one I might have to someday make out of pointy sticks.