I see the car parked on the side of the road. It’s a red four-door like mine only it has red duct tape patching up the front bumper and the most modest Trump bumper sticker I’ve ever seen.
When I saw the car a couple of months ago across the road from my neighbor’s property where I park my car and walk with Fate, I thought it had broken down. Now it’s been in the same spot almost every afternoon since hunting season began.
The first time I saw it and the person with the florescent orange hat and camouflage jacket in the tree- stand in the field, I called loudly to Fate as we walked up the dirt road so they would know we were there. I didn’t want us to be mistaken for a deer.
I miss walking in the woods.
Today I paid close attention to the bushes that grow along the edge of the road looking for birds’ nests. I only saw two, but I know there are more. Tomorrow, I believe, if I walk with the intention of seeing them, more will reveal themselves to me.
A few days ago I parked at my neighbors the same time the hunters were getting out of their car. There were two of them. A man and woman, the woman wore the orange hat.
I tried to keep Fate from running to them, but it’s impossible. She loves people almost too much. The woman reached down to pet Fate as I called her back. Then the woman pointed to me and Fate ran back. I’m not sure if Fate was responding me or her.
“Good luck,” I said to them as I walked up the road and the two hunters watched a hawk circling overhead.
Since that day, I’ve been quiet, making clicking noises with my tongue to call Fate, when I see the car or the orange hat in the tree.
I’ve seen the deer they’re hunting grazing in the cornfield next to our farm. I’ve seen the white of their tails as they run through the woods.
I can’t imagine shooting them.
I haven’t always thought so well of hunters. But since moving upstate over 20 years ago, my opinion has changed. I’ve talked to more than I would have imagined who say they still get up in the dark, walk through the woods with a loaded rifle, and sit for hours in the cold watching for deer. But they don’t shoot them anymore.
They like the tradition, being alone and quiet in the woods, watching the animals that cross their path.
Other people depend on deer meat to feed them and their families. They pass on the tradition to their children, boys, and girls equally. I get the feeling that around here, fewer people are in it for the sport.
There’s one more week of hunting season then Fate and I can walk in the woods again.
Zinnia will have the staples from her spaying out by then so she can join us. It’s cold enough that the ticks will go where ever they do in the winter so we’ll be able to walk in the woods behind the farm.
After all the rain we’ve had I’d guess that the stream and little waterfall is thick with water.
Soon it will be frozen, the water gurgling beneath the ice creating a steady flow of bubbles. Snow crunching beneath my boots, maybe I’ll sit in one of the tree-stands the hunters built. My back leaning against the thick bark, my legs dangling over the wooden plank I sit on, watching, seeing, listening.
With Fate waiting patiently below me.