When we’re in the throes of hunting season, all eyes seem to be on the more carnivorous endeavors. With what will we fill our freezers? That’s pretty much what’s on our minds and on the minds of my readers. Once the freezers are full of venison, wild pork (and this year, nilgai), how will God’s bounty be prepared and presented to the hunters’ families? All valid concerns, for sure.
More than once, since the season ended, Deerslayer and I have been out and about and spotted a beautiful full moon or brilliant, colorful sun rising in the eastern sky. “Sure wish we were at the hunting camp.” Without actually saying it, we understood the full meaning to include, “sitting around a campfire, with a refreshing beverage, listening only to the sounds of the birds and coyotes, and no concerns of everyday life.” Even now we dream of living on a few hundred acres, with beautiful views, the sounds of nature instead of the drone of the TV that never really seems to have anything on worth watching, and a fire pit to sit around while we tell stories or just sit and watch the flames until well into the night. Will we ever retire to our acreage? Who knows? But dreams like these have kept our marriage strong for almost 30 years.
Don’t get me wrong, when we’re out at the hunting camp, the beauty of the wilderness is not overlooked. Early every morning, while Deerslayer is sitting in a blind, I’ll get a text from him telling me to look at the sunrise. Of course, I’ll already have my perked coffee in hand (and my camera) to witness the glorious colors that only God can create. (Now, granted, the whole idea of receiving a text message takes away from the rugged back-to-nature feel of being in the country. If the same effect could be accomplished with a string and two cans, I’d be all over it. However, that’s not the point.) Deerslayer, sitting quietly in his blind, and I, in my camp chair with my steaming cup of coffee and camera are marveling at the same amazing sunrise.
The reality is that “hunting” is just a word that has come to encompass so much more for the Deerslayer’s Wife, and hopefully countless more deerslayers’ wives, girlfriends, and significant others who may not have considered themselves to be “outdoor types”. There is such a rush that has come from allowing myself to step outside my comfort zone for the ones I love. It has allowed me to see beauty and peace that I otherwise would never have known.
It’s been a journey worth taking, a process that required many lists, experimentation, self-analysis, and wine to come to terms with the fact that even I can find a niche in the great outdoors.