When I walked outside for the paper, this morning, I found a thick fog and the river was flat and I felt wrapped in silence. Smoke twisted from my neighbor's chimney and gave the slightly chilled air a brambly oak scented undertone. Acorns splatted the roof of our travel trailer as the squirrels fed.
I need to splat a few of them for the pot.
Fall, is the best.
Fifty years ago I'd of been out the door and deep into the oak groves well before sunrise. Back then I humped an old single shot four-ten purchased Lord knows where. It suited my purposes. It along with my worn hand me down tan hunting vest, and a lunch, and about ten shotshells, and my trusty nine shot .22 revolver comprised my gear.
Tree selection wasn't important as long as it was situated deep in the woods. I'd settle my young backside at the base of the tree and wait. The squirrels moved early and I took any target offered. Seems like I'd sit their for hours but in reality when the sun reached the peaks of the tree tops I'd ease out. With my gathered game I'd move quietly towards the dark creek and field dress my furry friends. I dressed the squirrels with a half rusty old Barlow I'd found at my school bus stop. Even though it held a good edge it had seen better days. I just liked the name, Barlow. I remember this tidbit because I'm sure it's still snuggled deeply in the mud on the bottom of the creek where I lost it that day.
I always had a small fire for company. Lunch was simple. Do you remember those logs of red paper wrapped bologna. That was lunch. I'd cut my slices thick and unceremoniously slap the slices between two slabs of bread sans condiments and then wrap my sandwiches in wax paper. I liked my lunches simple. Creek water and bare meat and bread - a ten year old kids fantasy of mountain men.
It was a long walk back to our little house. I had to travel the tracks, cross a huge field of cattle and its six barbed wire fences, but I enjoyed the time. Then, back to the world of farm work and family and school, and my books. The boots stomped free of dirt and cleaned and placed near the back door of our little house. Inside my mother would smile and praise me as the great hunter of the family.
I'd answer, "Always."
"Good. Then your dreams will be filled with happiness."