Skip to main content

Hunting Close to Home

The lady across the street saw me standing in my driveway with a shotgun in my hand, camo from head to toe, and a full face mask. Now, anybody else would know it is turkey season, hence my choice in clothing and accessories, but not this lady, no, she doesn't know about things like that. I could tell by the look on her face that she was concerned as to what was going on.

Now this is the same woman that thought I had been using her water one month when her bill was more than normal, and then asks me to crawl under her house to check for a leak after I assure her that I hadn't been. After taking one look under her spider-infested crawlspace, I wish I'd told her yea, that I'd been running a hose across the road at night and watering my marijuana patch that she probably thinks I have growing on the creek. 

I should've waved and lifted the net off my face just to let her know it was me and not some ISIS combatant about to put the drop on her, but I don't think. I just slipped into the woods as casually as I could, or like the ninja she thought I was. As I eased on, I could hear her talking on the phone, probably to her son, who would've been more afraid than she was.

I sat down under the big hemlock, close to where I saw turkeys feeding up the hillside the day before. The same hemlock that my wife sent me to to trim a few branches from for the Christmas wreath she was making. I remember that I was in my slippers and pajamas that cold December morning.

Easing my shotgun into position, I noticed a yellow rubber ball in the grapevines and running cedar below where I sat. My son punted it down in the woods years ago, and there it sits. It was about this time that I heard the girls squealing and laughing back up the hill at the house, on their swing set. I'm starting to feel like an idiot, hunting just yards away from where my dog takes a dump in the back yard. Some woodsman I am.

Speaking of taking a dump, my stomach started cramping, and I knew it wouldn't be long. I found myself thinking, Now should I just go in the house and use the bathroom, or be a real man and grab hold of two saplings and rare back, and clean myself up with leaves? If I do go in, do I take my mask off, or leave it on? And, what about my shotgun? If I leave it in the woods, will some rouge come by and steal it while I'm gone, or perhaps hold me at gunpoint with it and rob me?

I'm so close to the house that my wife doesn't have to open the door and yell, Supper's Ready! She can say it in a normal voice from the table and I can hear her from where I am sitting. Not exactly the back-of-beyond experience one would be looking for, but I was hunting.

As suburban as this setting seems, and as idiotic as I might be trying not to squawk the box call so loud as to stir the dogs up, I felt proud just to be sitting in the woods. Proud to be outside, just trying to interact with nature again. You know how it is.

You know how it is when you're depressed, and it robs you of everything you once enjoyed; how it makes you feel like there's no hope, no reason to get out of bed some days. Fear takes over and you're not the same person you were before. What was once very important to you seems like such a daunting task that you don't even bother. It's hard to immerse yourself in the woods when you are so deep inside of your own head. It's hard to escape that, but I did.

And gathering up my hunting gear and getting all camoed up was a big step for me. When I walked into the woods for the first time this year, I felt much like that prodigal son you heard about in Sunday school-- I had finally come home. So spending time hunting, no matter where, or by what ever means, is a big deal to me. Real big. For two years I didn't think I'd ever return to it.

As for my neighbor, she may as well get used to seeing a big, scary, gun toting booger walking the edge of the woods across the road from her house. It will just give her something else to be suspicious about. 


Comments

  1. Supper's ready!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Climbing tree stands elevate the hunter, giving him or her a great vantage point over deer or other large game.
    Best tree climber stand 2018

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Hemlock Cathedral

The morning fog was lifting in the mountains and the sunlight had began to filter through the trees. I turned off the asphalt highway onto the gravel road. The only other vehicle in the parking area was an old International Scout, so I took a few minutes to check it out as I slung my pack over my shoulders and grabbed my hiking staff, and then started walking.I walked for a few minutes, and up ahead, I saw an old man and a dog. The man was sitting on a big rock, and his dog was just standing there beside him. The old man looked to be in his seventies, he had a wild grey beard and a floppy hat and glasses as thick as Coke bottles. His shirt was unbuttoned to his navel, and had white chest hair and a gold rope chain hanging out."Beautiful day, ain't it?" he said."Yessir.""Looks like you're headed to the top," gesturing at my pack."Guess so," I said, "You too?""Nah, this is enough for me. But I can't think of a holier pla…

Small Gifts

About this time of year, turtle hatchlings like this little snapper emerge and make their way to the creek like all the generations before them. Why the turtle mom chose to lay her clutch behind my daughters' swing set is beyond me, but she has for the past couple of years. This young turtle had somehow evaded the cat and the lawnmower, and he was found climbing the high bank in front of our house-- the turtle equivalent of El Capitan. We set the little snapper off on his journey and whispered a prayer for his safe travels. Earlier this summer, an eastern river cooter layed her clutch beside our back porch and as of yet, there is no sign of their hatching. We watched and waited, but so far, nothing. Maybe our presence and the presence of our dog caused her to change her mind. That night, the soil was packed tight, and we were sure she'd finished the job and returned back to the water in the dark. We are still waiting... All over the yard now, there are tiny orange toads jumpi…

A Letter To My Father

Two years ago, this very night, you were still here among the living. You had no idea of what was to come in the early hours of the morning, but I know you had some inkling. You'd been talking about it for a while, and the Sunday before, I was told that you 'd made things right.Your mind and body were weak from fighting to hold onto your spirit, but your spirit was so much stronger, and it was determined to be set free. Your pain would soon be over, but you liked to fight, always did. You were the most stubborn human being that I have ever known, and I know that at the end, you were no different. I'm sure it wasn't your choice to go, despite all those times you cried, saying you wanted to die and be put out of your misery. When the medics had worked so long on you and decided to give up on you, your heart started back beating, as if out of spite.  I wonder sometimes what those last few hours were like for you. I wish I could've been there for you, like all the time…