I slowly wandered out of the woods just before sunset on Tuesday. It had rained most of the previous day. The ground was still wet. I was sitting near water, but it wasn’t that warm, no real reason for an animal to come drink, and I wasn’t really hearing anything. My brain just wasn’t there, either.
It was a pretty sunset, though. It’s a shame I think my camera might have crapped out on me and I can’t share it.
I’d been thinking a lot about Wednesday for the previous two days. It had been kind of a “drop dead” date for me. The absolute last date that I should have been back east. A celebration, so to speak, that it turns out I was uninvited to.
But Wednesday morning came, and I headed into town to the Chevy dealership.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
If you own a 2008 Chevy Suburban, if you intend to leave the keys in the ignition, do not remove the key slightly to stop the dinging that indicates the driver’s side door is open. If you do that, and then close all the doors, the car may lock itself automatically, and subsequently lock the keys inside.
Should you happen to do this with a rental car, after a 15 minutes on the phone with them, advising that no, you have neither the rental agreement number or your driver’s license number because both are locked in the car with the keys, they’ll politely tell you there’s not much you can do. “Maybe the Sheriff’s Department can help you out.”
Ah, but before you call the Sheriff’s Department, or a lock smith, call your local Chevrolet dealership with the VIN number. There’s a chance they’ll cut you a key to open the door.
BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG:
So, I got the key for Sid, got back to the lodge, and the guys in hunting this week decided they wanted to go fishing for a couple of hours between hunts. I put on my quick dry nylon pants, my long sleeve t-shirt and sweatshirt, threw on my polarized glasses, and boy, I was like a new man.
Got licenses for everyone, headed out to the stream, laced up my wading boots, grabbed my fly rod, and we headed out. It was a bit of a cluster----, as only one of the five had fly fished before. Everyone went straight to a different spot. Fished downstream. Just cruised the bank looking for fish. Basically, buggered a whole stretch out of excitement.
A couple of fish were caught, though. As for me, I realized that I’m certainly more comfortable as an angler than a hunter. I think I’ll still carry a bow out a few times, as sticking an Elk or a Deer with a traditional archery rig still seems like it would be quite an accomplishment, and the process is fascinating to me. I also realize that I don’t share the passion for it that Sid or others I’ve met harbor. I’m definitely more comfortable with a fly rod or a camera in my hands.
But, that didn’t stop me from getting back in the woods last night after dropping everyone else off where they needed to be. I had to go back to the lodge and change, and probably missed out on some of the excitement because of it. Sid and Joe, who by the way is the first cow inseminator that I’ve ever met, got out of the car, and found themselves right in the thick of elk less than 200 yds from where I dropped them off. They spooked one big bull that ran right past where I was to be sitting when I got back in 45 minutes.
The rest of the time, Sid basically just sat and talked with the elk, from all reports. He’d cow call, a “meeewwwww” type sound, and then they’d “meeewwwww” back. He’d even rustle some branches to try to get some of the cows to move out who were making some warning type sounds, but to no avail. They just wanted to stay and talk to Sid.
About 45 minutes after I got back, unknowingly about 500 yds from Sid and Joe, if that. I heard a few cow calls, and then a big “AOOOOOOFFFFFFFF.” I proceeded to hear that same sound, in different levels of volume and force at the rate of about 1 every 30 seconds for the next 15-18 minutes. I had thought it might be a big bull, and when the sound suddenly stopped, I was hoping it might have been because Joe shot it.
About 15 minutes later, just before dark, Sid called on the radio to tell me they were heading back to the car. I was concerned that I may not have been hearing what I thought. Maybe it was just a big sheep dog somewhere, so I decided I’d try to feel out where they were and what they’d seen before I relayed my experience for the evening.
As I got down to the car, they were both there already which surprised me. They each stood with their hands in their pockets and sheepish grins. I looked in back of the truck to see if an Elk was loaded, or just their gear. Just gear.
“You guys see anything?”
“Bunch of Elk.”
“No shots?” I asked.
“Nope. Saw a big bull, though, and some cows.”
“Was it making a big AOOOOOOFFFFFFFF type sound?”
They both bursted out laughing. Apparently, it was a big cow who was basically barking out warning, because she couldn’t figure out what Sid was as she couldn’t see him, but all the other cows in the area were basically having a conversation with him. They even had a small calf come up to them so close that when she went “mew” they could see her lips moving.
Pretty neat. I only wish that I’d been standing beside them with a video camera. But it was a great evening of stories and recounting the experiences and sounds we had surrounding us.
And as I reflected on my day, it turned out to be great. Just as the last three months have been. There’s still some ache and disappointment in the way things turned out, and wondering what I’m missing, but at the same token, you realize that everyone comes into your life for a different purpose. Some might take you all the way to your final destination. Others might just help guide you onto the right path.
In this case, what I thought the original purpose ended up not being the case. But as it turned out, it was an important contributing factor in my having the courage to leave the life that I knew, and take the leap to get where I needed to be. I wake up each morning, and step into my shoes more confident and comfortable with myself and where I’m headed than I have been in a long time.
I don’t know if you still read the blog anymore, but I thank you for the tremendous role you’ve played in my life. I hope your day turned out to be a special one. No hard feelings.
Hope everyone else is doing well, too.