Skip to main content

In the Forest

A gray shadow emerges from the mist of early morning. The figure moves fluidly through dense foliage and trees on the forest floor. Working it's way to the valley below, the shadow pauses to look and to listen. To be still is to be invisible, and there is no distinction between the trees and what is standing there among them. The forest is dark and deep and without sound except for water droplets falling through broad leaves. This ghost moves on, scanning the woodland, searching out its quarry. Into big timber, over the ridge and down to the valley lush with green ivy and thick brush. The shadow walks toward a clearing in the massive white oaks, but stops abruptly when there is movement in the opening in the trees. A great stag feeds on fallen acorns, it's head down, unaware. The gray figure becomes the shadow of an oak tree. The buck feeds up into plain view, it's wide set of tines raking the grasses and weeds as it grazes.

The shadow raises his bow, and draws back the string. The deer paws at the earth, trying to uncover acorns hidden in the grass. The bowman looses his arrow, and it finds its mark behind the shoulder of the stag, and it lunges forward to escape the unseen danger beyond the trees that caused the wind to crack before it. The animal falls to the earth and doesn't move again.

Nicholas removes his hood and nudges the stag on the shoulder with his bow. He lay his bow and quiver on the ground and kneels beside the beast and places his hand on the deer’s head between the antlers. He runs his hand down the thick neck and down to the shoulder to the place the arrow entered it. The blood was warm on his fingers, and he wipes them across the stag’s side. Nicholas pulls the knife from his belt and begins his work, taking from the animal all he can carry.

Comments

  1. While we are reading, we are there. We can feel the rain trickling down our neck. We can smell the warm fresh blood. We are sad and elated at the death and the promise. You tell the Oldest Story well, Josh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you sir. We see it every day in one way or another. All best, Henry.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

After Dark

I stayed up way too late last night. Chase called on his way home from work and told me that we were going catfishing. That's usually how things like this begin.

My brand new son- in- law Bryan was going too, although my daughter wasn't crazy about the idea. No worries though, she would stay at our house and await his return. She ended up asleep on my side of the bed until we got back. Apparently, their agreed upon curfew was 11:30, and he did his best to keep it despite Chase's nudging him to stay longer. My son has no concept of time when it comes to fish, whether they are biting or not.

So there we stood in the dark, on a bridge that crosses the Tyger  River. Every creature that flies or creepeth upon the ground was out. The noise from insects and frogs in the surrounding swamp was deafening. Chase was our catfish guide. He'd brought all the rods, bait and any tackle we might need. Chase's bait of choice was chunks of chicken breast marinated in his secret formu…

Her First One

There was a certain air of anticipation that morning as our guide, Captain Charles King, plied the waters beneath us for signs of schooling striped bass. We came to Santee Cooper Country to immerse ourselves in the sportsman's paradise, and explore all the area had to offer. As our boat cut across beautiful Lake Moultrie, the sun was breaking the eastern horizon with a warm, red glow, casting a soft, picturesque light on one of the most beautiful lakes in the South.

The South Carolina Outdoor Press Association (SCOPe) and members of the Georgia Outdoor Writers (GOA) had converged on the Santee Cooper lakes, as they held their annual fall conference at Black's Camp. As part of the group of  writers and photographers that were on the lake that particular morning. My wife, Melissa and I, along with Georgia outdoor writer, Polly Dean, were matched with an experienced guide, a man whose business is to know these waters and the popular game fish that thrive in great numbers there. Ch…

Passing On the Hunting Tradition

At ten years old, it was nearly impossible to sit still on the cold, hard ground beneath a huge pine tree, beside my dad as he scanned an old hayfield in search of deer. I was bundled up in his old camouflage coveralls—which were big enough to swallow me whole—and the boredom had started to set in by 9 am. I busied myself, playing with sticks and pinecones as I watched the occasional squirrel or songbird that would come to check us out from a safe distance. It was a cold December morning in Greenwood County, South Carolina, and despite the extra layer of clothing and my thermal underwear, I was shivering, hoping that soon my dad would give up and we would retreat to the comfort of the heated cab of his pick-up truck. I sat back against the tree and pulled my blaze orange stocking hat down over my ears, and drew my head inside of the coveralls to warm up. In just a moment, I was jolted by the thundering blast from my dad’s .58 caliber muzzleloader, and I popped my head out just in time…