Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday afternoon...

     Scarcely two weeks since the end of archery season and I'm craving outdoors...I've rooted myself to the couch and no matter how many times I surf through the channels, nothing of interest. I managed to sit through a couple of B horror flicks, but I have to get out.

     Why can't I be like other people? Sunday's winter, it's cold, it's January...why can't I be content huddled up on the couch or in the recliner watching a movie under a warm blanket with hot chocolate? Why can't I sit and watch an entire NFL game or some college basketball? Maybe even have an adult beverage or two...Why? I don't have anything against television. I watch too much as it is. College basketball is the greatest sport on TV and I enjoy watching some football. I like my little house. It's comfortable and warm and the fridge is full. Why is it I'm pulled outside? Maybe if I didn't have windows or maybe if I didn't know what was out there...I don't know. Imagine cabin fever times ten. Maybe I have A D D...After several passes by the living room window and looking towards the stand of woods behind the house, it's too much. Boots on and I'm out the door.

     It's crisp and clear. No bow or rifle, just me and the woods...Mid 20's, but almost comfortable compared to the last couple of days in the teens. I step over the hill and into the trees. The old snow crunches under my boots and there is just enough of it still on the ground to give contrast to all the other colors...Some greens that are left behind almost glow neon against the white background and the red of the cardinals is like fire. Even the ordinary blah of the browns and grays of the winter woods take on new life against the snow.

     As I make my way down into the creek bed, the temperature drops...I shake off a shiver as my breath blows like smoke, the frigid air burns my throat. My side of the hill has been hidden from the sun and is still locked in the cold. The creek flows hard from recent rains and I take a minute to stand and just listen as it passes over the blood pressure drops a few points. I find some dry stones and make my way over the water to the opposite bank. This side of the creek is sun drenched. The snow is left in patches and the freeze dried dirt has thawed into soupiness. Deer tracks are everywhere as the trail weaves through the cedars. I walk up on two obvious deer beds...Smart or just instinctive, the deer picked a perfect place for a siesta. I kneel and feel the ground and it's almost warm...the sun is streaming in between the trees and the cedars make a perfect wind break...I decide smart.

     I follow the game trail into a thicket, hoping to find a shed antler or two, but no luck. Some more evidence that the deer had been here, but have long since left. The woods are winter quiet now.  I make my away across the 40 acre piece and walk full circle back to my hillside. I check the time and barely an hour has passed...I step into my backyard and head towards the house as the sun starts its drop. One last glance over my shoulder towards the trees until my next fix...