Skip to main content

The Bowman

In the stillness of early morning, the bowman steps into the woods. It is still quite dark, so he eases along with what little moonlight is left shining through the open hardwoods. The morning is cold, and deathly silent. Rainfall from the day before has dampened the forest floor, which made for quiet going, as long as he doesn't make a misstep and break a dead branch, or crumble a rotting log under foot.

There is no need to hurry, just take a few steps, then wait a few minutes. Watching the dimly lit woods, listening for any sound that would mean something stirring in the dark brush beyond his sight.

As the first hint of daybreak outlined the ridge above him, the bowman hears the slight shuffling on the far side of the spring- fed branch to his left. He scans the trees, trying to get his eyes somewhat adjusted, looking for any horizontal line that would indicate the back of a whitetail deer, standing motionless in the thicket.

The bowman stands like a statue for what seems like an hour, and as the light floods through the forest floor, it occurs to him that he's seeing shadows, or a fallen tree, not a deer, or any other living thing.

As he takes a step in the other direction, chaos erupts from the thick timber beyond the branch, and the bowman watches a large buck crashing through the tangle of vines and thick saplings, up the hillside toward the ridge, white tail raised like a flag. The buck blows and grunts as he climbed the steep slope.
He watched the buck flee with a cheerful heart, as it did his soul good to witness the speed and agility of the fine animal.

All was quiet again, all except the purling of the branch, the songbirds' waking voices, and the fast beating of the bowman's heart.

Comments

  1. Sometimes, yes. "Let it be..." A good'n, Josh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Henry. Sometimes it's just about being there, taking part.

      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…