The Quiet Road

Sun tipping west and another day done.

Evening is the quiet road. The hunt is squeezed by daylight, the ridge has been climbed in a frenzy of pumping heart and heaving lung. The shotgun has barked, once, twice. Fresh dog work for the young Griffon, old hat for the tottering legs-wobbling grayed setter. A single blue grouse lies warm against your back and shooting light is slipping by. You turn, head down the mountain, chasing the fading sun. An elk chortles off in the timber, undaunted by the sound of shotgun and whistle, dog-holler and grouse-burst. Poisoned by lust, judgment suspect.
Down the ridge now, dead bird and fading sunlight, down past all of that hard hurried late-afternoon work, down to cold beer. Another day is down, another day in this best of all the best.

—TR

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