The Hunt

As the first weekend of November approaches, people across Texas are finding themselves up late at night. They are excited with anticipation of the weekend to come. They have already been to the lease and made sure everything is in order for this seemingly all-too-short time of year in which they will spend weekend after weekend in search of the elusive white-tailed deer. They will have checked their stands, trimmed the brush and filled their feeders ahead of time to ensure a quiet entry at around 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning.Yes, it’s already that time of year again. It is opening weekend of deer season. Even though it may have only been since January, it seems like an eternity since they have been in the woods.At the sound of the alarm clock they will jump out of bed and hurry to get ready. They cannot and will not be late. The long, dark walk from the truck to stand is at times a bit spooky. No matter how many times they have been in the woods, there is always a sound that is unfamiliar to the ear. After they climb the ladder and settle into their temporary homes, they sigh with relief; comfort at last. The cold sound of the lonely coyote call in the distance gives them chills. They are tired but cannot sleep, for they might miss something.As the sun starts to drop bits and pieces of rays of light upon the forest floor, their eyes will play tricks on them. It is only after the woods are fully illuminated that they can surely distinguish between these figments of their imaginations and what is real. It is during this time that the woods begin to come to life. It may start with the simple call of a bluebird or a croak of a frog. Sooner or later, however, they once so-quiet forest will have become permeated with the pleasant sounds of nature.One by one, the crows start to appear almost out of nowhere. Their wings cut the air sharply, and they sound like small jet planes as they land in the nearby trees. Then they start to call, a sound in which the hunter may despise. It is loud and annoying, but short-lived. All of the sudden, after the enough have gathered, they all fly away. It is almost as if they were supposed to have met there and fly somewhere together as a group.The day goes on with anticipation of seeing the ghost-like deer. Though the hunters are listening and looking with great intensity, they are calm. They may be the most relaxed they have been in months. They aren’t thinking of the board meeting on Monday or the philosophy test on Thursday. They aren’t thinking about their problems with their spouses or with their homes. They are only thinking about what is in front of them, and that can only be described as sublime.As the sun sets, they will exert their last hopes of seeing the animal they seek, though it doesn’t matter whether they do or not. They are just happy to be there. They are satisfied because they have gotten the chance to fulfill some of their most primal needs, to be outdoors, to hunt. The fact that they did not succeed in the intended purpose of “the hunt” is of little consequence to them. For they know it only means they will get to come back and do it all again next weekend.

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