October 29, 2012
Well, I’m back again. Home from another week of work in Spokane.
It wasn’t a total drag, being up there. The fall has definitely fallen in the Pacific Northwest, and cold weather is hanging in the wings. While I was there, I reveled in the chill of frosty mornings, the threat of snow, and the scent of woodsmoke drifting on the evening breeze. The geese and ducks were all on the move as well, lifting from the Spokane River most mornings and evenings, and sailing just overhead as I watched from the hotel parking lot.
There’s a lot to be said for the feelings that all of that invokes. There’s the heady sense of longing and reminiscence, along with a hunger to take to the woods. I’ve never hunted up in that part of the country, but there’s some kind of commonality in those autumn sensations… it could as well have been California, North Carolina, or even Texas. It doesn’t matter where I am, I recognize the feeling… and I like it a lot.
I’m back in Texas now, for a while, and fall is falling here too. The nights have been downright chilly, and while the days are warmer, it’s a gradual warmth that feels good… rather than the oppressive heat of summer that seems to start from the moment the sun rises, and seldom abates even after it’s set. It’s hunting season… really hunting season… and that’s what I’m feeling.
It’s funny that the sense of urgency to hunt hasn’t been quite as strong this year. I’ve got one deer in the freezer already, and I’m pretty sure that a concentrated effort will provide another easily enough. I want to get back out there, of course, but there’s so much to do here around the house… I’ve felt like it can wait. But now the cool weather is coming, and the chores and projects aren’t quite as important as they were last week or the week before. I look up the hill while I’m feeding the horses and spot the outline of my stand on the edge of the woods. I want to be sitting in it.
I want to see my breath in the first light of day, and watch the frost appear on the oak leaves under my stand. I want to stretch my body to face the risen sun, and feel the heat radiate through my clothes into my chilled limbs and face. I want to nod off in the comfortable embrace of the mid-morning warmth, and nap wrapped in a blanket of sunshine.
I want to pull my collar up to keep the chill from slipping down my neck, and snug my face down into a bandana as night steals away the last of the day’s warmth. I want to listen to the stillness of a cold dusk, as sparrows and squirrels pick through the dried leaves for the last of the summer’s seeds and nuts. I want to stand silent in the shadows of evening, as the air grows crisp and the stars shine in a sky so clear it seems I can reach out and touch them… pick them from the sky like bright berries of light.
Of course, by the end of this week the temps will be back into the 80’s, but it doesn’t matter now. I’ve had my taste… that first teasing, tantalizing sample of the season that’s coming. Summer’s grip is loosening, and the whispers of fall are growing louder and more insistent. Hunting weather is coming.