It is not the knee, tender only occasionally now. It is not the ankle and the winces it brings. It is not, even, the depth-of-darkness night awakenings when I replay the points and misses, hits and retrieves.
Instead it is the scent of sage on a setter’s coat. Perhaps only an olfactory memory. It is the flake of obsidian I find in the pocket of hunting pants about to go into the washer. It is the pink recollection of tint on far mountain beyond shooting light. It is my hunting pals at the pickup, munching chips and drinking beer, and the note-comparing that we do. It is reminding myself to stay in some semblance of physical shape because this hunt will go first, this slanted, glorious, frustrating, love-hated wonderment.