Sunday, March 11, 2012


     The warm sunlight pouring through my office window was too much and it's begging me outside...Work has been unusually busy this winter for no apparent reason and I could certainly use a "woods" break from the day to day. Four o'clock couldn't get here fast enough!

     The air is still cool, but the sun's rays warm and the long damp gray of winter seems to be giving up to spring...perfect weather for an afternoon shed hunt. I'm still hoping to find the dropped antlers of a big split brow tined buck from last fall. He was a ghost in the shadows and our paths never crossed, but I did manage to get some nighttime pictures of the giant on my trail camera.

     I hit all the normal spots, bedding areas, thickets, the edges of the cornfield, but no bone to be found...shed hunting is frustrating practice, literally a needle in a haystack! As I make my through the open woods, the damage from last week's high wind and tornado warnings is obvious...Poplars, oaks and maples that had been killed from the inside out by several years worth of a tent caterpillar infestation finally gave up...It seems the wind was indiscriminate in the tops it chose to snap off like toothpicks... 

     I check one more large field and something white catches my antler gleaming in the sun? I make my way through the green of the winter wheat towards the object...not a shed antler, but a twisted piece of white metal...I find more...and more. Roofing metal, vinyl siding, gutters, insulation, papers, pieces of clothing and a cooler...Not what I had hoped to find. I gathered up some of the debris and it dawned on me that this wasn't just junk or litter. It was bits and pieces of someone's life. Part of someone's history...part of their story. It made my heart of my dearest friends lost family in the storms and it made me feel almost guilty for wanting to be out here in the field and woods to run from the stresses of my daily life...

     As I made my way back to the truck, I couldn't help but notice the smell of the new wild onions, the bright green of the grass and the explosion of buds on the honeysuckle and maple birds and woodpeckers singing their notes...and I thought how amazing it is that our Creator breathes new life into the woods each year, a second chance even though everything wild and alive seems destroyed in the dormant winter...and I hope my friend can find some solace in that thought.