It's not very often that we get to have a day out without any children. Hunting season however, marks a yearly opportunity for D and I to get out into the wilderness for a day just to ourselves. As we prepped for our big day, I worked in anticipation of some quiet time. The constant chatter, and laughing of children is lovely, but once in a while (a great while) quiet time, alone, is cherished. Cherished as a time for the two of us to just enjoy each other.
As we walked quietly at pace, and scanned the field edges and the interior of the forest, now naked of her leaves, we are together. I enjoy fully his presence, as he does mine. As a woman raised in a family with 3 older male siblings, I grew up to enjoy tagging along, and he, having grown with a younger sister, learned to appreciate the company. Now, as husband and wife, I am his perfect helper..in all that he does. Even though the traditional roles may dictate that I ought to stay home during the hunt and have the cooking ready for his return, I see being a apart of his work a help to him.
As we entered a large cutting, where the skidders once tore the ground and cleaned the forest that once stood here, we saw two things. Two things that tear me. One is that this cutting gives opportunity for the new growth that the animals need to help over-winter them: a source of food. The other is that this cutting, has raped the forest. It has taken from her not only the needed trees, but has cleared out all good things. The ecology that once thrived here is forgotten. The ground having been ripped by over-sized tires has been robbed of microorganisms and growth that will take centuries to re-establish. As we sit and wait for a sound of life, I hear nothing. The birds are even still here. It is open, bare of cover. The deer are surely not here..they are deep in the forest where there is dense evergreens to protect them from the raging wind. We, people, have taken their hiding place.
We sat a while longer, still waiting. We had a quick picnic and then moved on to another, perhaps more vibrant with life, place.
We come to a place where the forest was dense, the moss thick, and tracks scattered the ground. We saw the footsteps of deer, moose, and of course their adversary, the coyote. Walking through the open fields, and them coming to the place where we were to sit, we settled in. Just as the animals do, we found refuge from the cold wind in a small field, just inside her edges. We were covered with fur bows in the front, sitting just inside the treeline we waited. Here, we sat for a long, quiet time. I found a few old maple stumps where late fall oysters were still clinging on, and harvested them. We ate crackers and cheap cheese by a small fire that warmed us after the cold walk. The fire was not discrete. The smoke wrapped around that enclosure like a spot light would light us up..but, it was romantic. Even if we never saw any wildlife, we were enjoying each others company. And we were warm.
Finally, after a long hunt, and a happening in a slow stream, Dan scored his game for the day. Certainly not what we were seeking after, but something for the table none the less. We are happy. The children were in awe. It was his first Duck. We are thankful for that.