Monday, January 19, 2009

One down... One to go...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. "
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have to say that I find more than a touch of conflict in myself at the idea of hunting squirrel on the federal holiday designated to honor the life an memory of Dr. Martin Luther King. I was not clear why this would be the case. All the same, I finally had to reconcile it as exercising a right of mine on a day of rest, both of which are granted by the federal government. (Hey, those government guys are good for something it seems... although it still seems like dancing at a funeral in certain corners of my mind.) Perhaps tomorrow, more than the words spoken in his honor ever have, the legacy of Dr. King will be realized a little (or a whole big bunch) more. It was all about the content of his character and still is...

At 14 degrees this morning, this is by far the coldest day I can remember hunting since my hair started changing color and disappearing. My gear, it turns out, still works at this temperature although I was unprepared for the face mask to freeze to my whiskers...

I was hoping for snow today. I guess, when placing my order, I should have said 'while I am in the woods' instead of just the general request. It snowed on everything before I arrived. The sky was cloudless and clear as I have seen in January. The snow was the noisy kind. Not so much crunchy but noisy in the way it can be when it compresses under your feet. Made it tough to move at all...

It sure was pretty though. It appears to have fallen with no wind at all. This, in turn, produced this effect of a powdered coating and anything exposed turned white.

The woods was all quiet. In close to five hours, I heard one bark and one running in the snow and saw nothing. It was quiet and beautiful and asleep. It is nearly time to stop for the year. (Though I am considering rabbit hunting a couple of times just as an excuse to explore a couple of tracts I want to walk before next season...)

I have on more scheduled day of hunting before the season ends for 08-09. I expect it to go the way this hunt did. Next week I will be in the eastern half of the area. For all purposes until April (when rifle range Wednesdays begin once per month BTW... WOO HOO!) I am done in Tranquility on the western half. It always feels a bit like a loss when I do this but... I will be back.

And the squirrels will be waiting... and I know where... and this is one of the ways to go... It's like an old friend when I see it again in Sept. I can wait but I don't want to.

Almost time to call it a day again. Wife is getting dinner and the little one is going crazy and I am still typing. There's little enough left to say. This has been a great season. One more hunt to go and then... time to rest.
Tomorrow, we transition power to a new president. Despite the hype, despite the negatives played hard by one group and positives played hard by another, I find that I have hope for this. I believe that for the first time, in a long time a man of character and integrity and vision is stepping willingly into leadership during a time of great crisis and uncertainty... and I have hope for his youth and grace to carry the day.

"You wanna know how to tell who the winners are? When the game's on the line, a winner wants the ball..." -Coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman), "The Replacements"

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. " - Martin Luther King, Jr.

That's damn right.

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