I could do this every day. Walk the roads. The tall grass. Carry the gun broken over miles of empty fields just for the heart-race that is the “snick” of the gun readied. Thumb on the safety, gawd-almighty-get-ready. Do it forever, every day of the season from infant October to bitter good bye January, the ditch parrots flushed and cackling and sometimes escaping. The gun swinging, the bird falling, the glorious dog upon it as if this is all there is in this world and for her, perhaps it is and for you that’s the case as well, if you stop and look deep enough to admit it. Engulfed. Forever, a new place, a new door knocked, a new acquaintance, an old place, a cover where you know the ambush front and back and sideways. Forever and repeat.
But what of the miles of empty road, the flat tires, the permissions refused, the hot days with water running low miles from the pickup? The down years when it’s just miles and a few carry-over birds sailing out of sight? What of the misses, the wiffs, the outright slumps? What of letting her down after all that hard work she did thrashing the deep cover that towers over her little head, you fool? A flat-footed, no-excuses miss. The blisters, the rain, the wet stench of tired foot? The field of nothing but hens, or worse, roosters running goodbye-gone-and-a-day and flushing at beyond what is even prudent rifle range? The cover cow-burnt to the dirt? What of Russian olive thorn and prickly pear dagger? What of tired leg and chaffed groin and a shower needed, badly. What of someone else beating you to it, halfway across the field before you turn up the county road? Forever? Really? I call bullshit.
Try me. Just try me.
5 thoughts on “Forever”
Yup. We’re with you Tom. Even now, as old as I am, it is still what I live for.
Perfectly written, thanks for keeping this site alive.
Of course the picture with the perfect setter sure helps
Soon come the years when we also welcome and treasure the bullshit days. We sit on the tailgate, smoke a cigar, share a sandwich with our dogs, legs weary, footsore, eyes dry and aching, two missed shots, not a bird in the vest. Wouldn’t be right if every day’s hunt was perfect. Open a beer. Tomorrow will be better.
It’s the defeats that make the obsession and forever ain’t really that long.
Aw, you missed one thing – getting escorted off a mountain side by a Griz while bird hunting. This happened to me just yesterday. No shit