Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hunting Makes Memories For Mind's Eye

By Taylor Wilson

Flashes before one’s eyes.

People in dire straits claim to see such when they know their time is nigh. They see moments in life that mattered, things they did right, things they did wrong; things they enjoyed, things they didn’t. There’s joy and pain.

I suspect this to be true. I certainly carry around a lot of positive “flashes” of pictures framed by my mind. And several have happened while deer hunting, quite a few with my son.

For example, there was this moment my son and me stumbled about in the pre-dawn darkness one frosty fall morning. This little cub of a kid wrapped in a camo clothes whispered/confessed to his old man: “My stomach is turning, I am so excited!”

Glad I clicked that memory. (A similar memory lingers from when he woke me up in the middle of the night, before we were to fish the Little Red for trout: “I can’t sleep, I can’t wait for morning,” he said.)

Then there was the time we rattled, called and harassed a small buck until it ran at us in what appeared to be a charge. The kid made the shot, and proclaimed the ordeal AWESOME!

Afterward, we examined his trophy and when we were heading to the truck, the sun was falling on him when he and his shadow skipped for a few steps across a cornfield. Yes, skipped. It was simple enough, but a light, care-free jump for joy that typically we only see youngsters do and mean it. Yep, that too is clicked and framed somewhere in a mostly empty cranium.

And my mind saved another hunting clip the other day. The kid was lamenting the entertainment value of deer hunting when there weren’t any deer: “In deer hunting all the excitement comes at once,” he said.

“Yep, in big doses,” I agreed. But I added there are a lot of other interesting things to watch: the sunrise, the steam rising off a warming pond, the birds, and many other critters.

He noted the cold, the time, the need to go home, soccer games and Halloween parties.

So we started what could be labeled The Countdown Bid (it normally starts after my exclamation of, “We need to sit here a little while longer.”

“Thirty more minutes!” he said.

“Two hours,” I replied.

“Thirty minutes it is.”

“An hour,” was my counter offer.



So, there we sat, counting down our 30 remaining minutes in the deer stand, with me looking at the clock and secretly adding minutes, while my counterpart seemed to count way too fast.

The count-down stopped, though, with one word—“Deer!”

After some frantic whispers and the echoes of some well-placed shots, the smoke cleared and venison aplenty lay on the ground.

“CAN YOU BELIEVE ALL THAT HAPPENED IN A MATTER OF MINUTES!?!” said the excited kid who stood wearing my boot size, and who I almost suddenly realized had probably grown way too big to skip—or at least admit it.

My reply came softly while laughing and framing another mind’s moment. “No, I can’t, I really can’t.”

Sure, I believe them. There are flashes before our eyes…before our earth-bound lights go out, just as many claim. Maybe that is why I’ve always tried to collect as many good memory flashes as possible. Maybe I want the previews for The Big Picture to be mostly good, a prelude to what waits on the other side?

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