One of the comments to Hunting with the Curmudgeon: Part Seven: Last In Series deserves it’s own post. It reminded me that I was failing to write about the sublime in a hunt and safely focusing on the mundane.
Those of us who hunt understand the depth and spirituality of the endeavor. However, we don’t usually share it; at least not in words. We’ll drag willing novices into the deepest forest in the hopes that they’ll see it themselves, but we won’t verbalize the deeper meaning of the hunt. It’s one of those “if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand” moments. If you’re a hunter you already know. If you’re not, it’s gap not easily bridged.
That’s probably why my hunting story involved ranting about intrusive smart phones and insulting the service guy at Goose Hill. Writing with soul and beauty is difficult. Jason Reynolds gave it a shot and I’m glad he did. Enjoy:
Each Year I Go Into the Woods
A Poem, Quatrain, Ballad or something of the sort by: Jason Reynolds
Each year I go into the woods;
I tell others it is to hunt those deer!
The truth: it is to put my feet where grandfather stood
Find my soul and wrestle my fear.
Sitting on the ground, trying not to be found,
Melting into the solemn autumn, white flag on a big buck’s bottom,
Singular concentration trying not to blink wrong, the birds sing their song;
About the time the crickets cease, the sun’s arising and so is the peace.
The sassy doe with her inquisitive bow and teasing stomp,
Mere feet from me I find pleasure in her attitude;
Earthen air fills my lungs and my heart awakes to nature’s pomp,
The leaves float down to me here where lives all solitude.
My only quarrel is with the squirrels,
The only plight with the breeze that carries my abbreviated sneeze;
Eyes begin to droop until I see that majestic deer stoop,
And it is on again: me against him it is time to win!
Sneaky as can be the allusive antler carrier is a bruiser,
A mystical mammal showing only his face;
I work hard to beat him at his game but I am the loser,
Like my stress he’s disappeared and I am put back in my place.
Hunting is less and less about the actual killing,
More and more it is being with like-minded burley men who seek balance,
As we escape the chaos of life to rediscover it is well worth living.
Nature has no substitute: refreshment is found in the woods alongside man’s silence.
Mr. Curmudgeon, thanks for your kind words and for sharing this. My momma will be proud… though my hunting buddies will likely poke fun that if I spent less time writing on the deer stand then I’d be able to outsmart more deer. As it should be.
Great work, Jason. I know it’s not the same, but I get a similar buzz out of wildlife photography: the stalking, waiting, figuring out behaviour, the thrill of getting the shot.
that works for my reasoning behind forays into cold, swift streams armed with a fly rod…
A.C. you missed your calling just like my dad did his (he should have been a stand up comedian). You Sir, bring your readers into any one of your many scenario’s you encounter and have them experience it with you, THAT is talent. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your life’s stories and adding to them your twisted sense of humor (I love it). Thank you once again.
Whenever I write something I wonder “what the hell am I doing?”. I’m glad you (and others) verified at least some folks like it. Whew!
Does Louis L’Amour ring any bells???