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Dave McC
December 19, 2002, 03:31 PM
We had hunted hard, and were back at the van. The weapons were unloaded and cased, the equipment stored, and I semi collapsed into the driver's seat, my back a mass of outraged pain receptors.

My hunting partner was already slumped in the seat, hat over eyes. I started the Dodge and fumbled out some aspirin, washing them down with the remnants of a cup of coffee I had left 6 hours before. I felt the little tremors in my thigh muscles that presaged massive cramping, and knew I'd pushed it harder than prudence called for.

As I got into gear and headed for Rt 213, I asked myself why I still hunted at an age when most men of my age or less found the woods just too far from the TV or barstool. Some memories came flooding back.....

One of Pop's great Shorthairs working up a gully in a field, every fiber of her being announcing, "Bird near, bird near", then "Bird HERE"! The rooster cackled pheasant obscenities as it clawed for altitude, rising, rising. In that familiar compression of time, the shot was postscript.

Another time, a crystal clear and frigid dawn, I stood under a white oak while a huge V of geese set their wings and glided just over the treetop headed into Zepp's pond just past the woods.They sang their Hymn. I felt much the same thing I had one time standing in Canterbury Cathedral, bathed in rare sunlight through the stained glass while the organ played notes so deep I felt them through the soles of my feet. In both places, I prayed and thanked the Master Architect of All for the experience.

Coming off stand one time, encountering a good buck at maybe 12 feet in the brush.For a brief flash of time, Predator and Prey looked into the other's soul and knew each for what they were. I lost the staredown.

And near there were two small trees growing so close they looked like they were slowly wrestling for the light, or dancing, depending on viewpoint. I often stopped to look at them, and it took a few visits to note they grew from the same stump.

Or the deep and pleasant ache of knowing I'd hunted hard and well, the objective of my hunting though not its ostensible goal.

Or the time I stillhunted in waders up a small tributary of the Patuxent, bow in hand, while searching the brush nearby. Where the bank had crumbled a bit there was a gleam, and I picked up the back half of an exquisitely crafted arrowhead, with a little little organic material still in the notches showing how it had been fastened to the shaft.

I shivered though warm, knowing I was tracing the footsteps of other hunters, and wondering if that maker and hunter had contributed to my personal DNA. I carefully returned the relic to where it had been, for it belonged there...

As I turned onto 301, my partner lifted the hat from her head and said, "Dad, I'm hungry, can we get some burgers"?

As I glanced into eyes the same hue as my father's, I knew why I still hunted....

Correia
December 19, 2002, 03:49 PM
Thanks Dave.

Guyon
December 19, 2002, 04:48 PM
Dave, wherever you wind up once TFL is gone, I'll drop in just to check out your posts. Let us know when "Shotgun Satori" makes it into print. If I send you my copy, will you autograph it?

Thanks for the story.

416Rigby
December 19, 2002, 06:17 PM
Thank you. That was inspiring.

yorec
December 19, 2002, 06:31 PM
Dave, if there was a rating system out there for posts you'd get a number pretty high on the scale for that one - and all thumbs up... :cool:

Art Eatman
December 19, 2002, 06:57 PM
Great vignette...

Y'all don't get lost, now; Oleg's coming along with the New Deal. Whatever the new URL is will be a "float" all across TFL.

:), Art

mikey357
December 19, 2002, 11:08 PM
...wonderful story...Thanks, Dave....mikey357

sm
December 20, 2002, 12:11 AM
Agsin my thanks Dave McC

Dave R
December 20, 2002, 12:19 AM
Way to paint it, Dave. I was there. Can't wait for a "first edition" of your book.

Dave McC
December 20, 2002, 05:27 AM
Thanks, folks. Glad you liked it.

ojibweindian
December 20, 2002, 09:22 AM
That was wonderful reading. I am starting out late in life as a hunter, so I have much to learn. I hope that I can pass along to my daughter and son those things I learn, and hope that I can share the same kinds of experiences that you have had with your children.

Very inspiring!

Keith Rogan
December 20, 2002, 12:58 PM
Very nice piece of work!

The only thing greater than those first hunting experiences, is reliving them through our children.

Keith

keano44
December 20, 2002, 02:19 PM
COOL! Gems like this are what I will miss most from TFL. Luckily, the spirit will be ressurrected in Oleg's new site.

Dave McC
December 21, 2002, 05:31 AM
Thanks, folks.

What we have is not ours, but held in trust for those of newer generations. Let's not sell their birthright for pottage.....