Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Leaves of October

Thoughts from a Hunting Journal
(Part X)
     The beginning of a seemingly new era of hunting camp, Starlight has become our solid base and it continues to grow and develop.  But this month is more about the beginning of the season, of pumpkins and ghosts, of windy nights flecked with passing flurries and the anticipation of things to come.  In this old friends have bloomed new again.  "Big Chris" now visits with his "tribe" to lend a hand with camp chores and share drinks and tales by the fire.  Chris Hubert makes his annual pilgrimage to chase birds and rain clouds across the sky.  And Old Man Winter flirts with the forest.
     The annual Twin Pond pheasant hunt started three years ago.  It could be said that it actually began four years back with a family trip to the Equinunk Twin Spruce Lodge but the "boys" only trickled in when we switched to the Twin Pond site.  The inaugural trip saw the seven usual suspects gathered in the rain.  Tony, Danny, Drew, Jason, Hubert, my dad, and I all braved the chilly rain that day.  Most of them fled quickly after the birds and shells ran out.  By the second year everyone but Hubert, my dad and I had found better things to do.  Uncle George pretended to come for the hunt.  Nostalgia, more a walk down memory lane than anything else, was his true motive for tagging along.  While the hunt eventually washed out, Uncle George cruised the countryside visiting old haunts from a lifetime ago.  Hubert and I hunted a ground blind to watch the rain, waiting on a deer that was held at bay by our snores.  Driving straight up after work on a couple hours sleep left the two of us pretty much wiped out.  It turned out to be a perfectly gloomy weekend.
     Chris and I headed back to work soggy and empty-handed.  And Uncle George faded away, never to be seen in the woods of PA again.  It was as if he were an apparition of a hunting camp long forgotten clinging to the present but always knowing he could not stay.
(It is that time again.  Time to remember seasons passed.  Some of the seasons are as dark and grey as the sky that watched them but even those times need to be cherished.  Any day in the woods, even snoring, is a better day than one spent at work.  Enjoy the seasons.)

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