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

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…