Friday, November 8, 2013

Near and deer to my heart

Tomorrow's deer firearms opener for most of My Minnesota. I expect to be practically tripping over florescent orange around here for the next week or two and then the woods will pretty much quiet down again. It's not quite as annoying as living on a lake and having the North American barefoot water-skiing champion buy the house next door (even with Minnesota's Winters, deer season is shorter than Summer season). Most deer hunters are reasonable, responsible and generally righteous. It only takes one or two, however, to leave a bad taste in a landowner's mouth. Fortunately, Minnesota's Hunter Education program includes ethical considerations such as this quote from Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac: "A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are directed by his own conscience rather than by a mob of onlookers. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this fact."

 "tracking snow"             © harrington

The tracking snow from earlier this week is mostly melted. The brush is still just as thick. There is also a lot of country around here where the understory is pretty open, except for the buckthorn. I wish the local nimrods safe, successful hunts, especially the other guy who lives in this house and his fiance, my daughter. Last year's venison is getting pretty sparse in the freezer. On the other hand, if all the deer in the neighborhood hung out under the pear tree, like this one, they'd be pretty sure of making it through this year's hunting season and not becoming old bones this year.

doe standing under the back yard pear tree
back yard pear tree doe        © harrington

Old Bones

By Gary Snyder 
Out there walking round, looking out for food,
a rootstock, a birdcall, a seed that you can crack
plucking, digging, snaring, snagging,
         barely getting by,

no food out there on dusty slopes of scree—
carry some—look for some,
go for a hungry dream.
Deer bone, Dall sheep,
         bones hunger home.

Out there somewhere
a shrine for the old ones,
the dust of the old bones,
         old songs and tales.

What we ate—who ate what—
         how we all prevailed.

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