Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Heros and Legends"

I've always been amazed at how life's episodes play out. If you look hard enough, you are sure to discern the circumstances of the day. Then again, I've been told I read to much into things too. Such is how I've come to terms with today, though I simply must digress to yesterday for a minute. Yesterday I had a conversation with a good friend of mine over the phone. It's amazing that two guys that see each other a couple weekends a year during duck season can become such good friends, but that's what the outdoors does to people - it breaks down individual personas leaving only common bonds. Georgia (the nickname given by Pat Pitt the very first night at L'anguille Lounge) has become interested in a long lost piece of waterfowling history - skulling. This pretty much means that I've become interested in skulling as well. As phone conversations seemingly always do, skulling turned to another topic, then another, and finally ended with a discussion on "heros". I mentioned that I only have a few left, and found myself stopping short, thinking back to my grand dad. I guess he was the definition of "hero" for me. The conversation ended shortly there after, and I tried to put it out of my mind. I couldn't.

Gran Gran was the one who helped me understand my daddy, and I think, he helped daddy understand me. Lately, the enormity of being a father has been on my mind. I want my daughter to both respect me, learn from me, and one day when I'm gone, think back to her "hero". How to accomplish it all is something I'm struggling with. I guess, I just need ole gran gran to talk to. I was supposed to hunt with a friend this morning, but I really wanted to take a walk in the woods by myself. I really needed to just sit and think, so I declined the hunt.

This morning, pulling up to the parking spot, I noticed a familiar truck that I had seen a few times last year. It's passengers are three old men who I can only guess have been buddies for decades. When I met them last year, they reminded me of my gran dad and his friends, meeting everyday at Ward's, drinking coffee and solving the issues of the day. They hunt the same area I do, and despite our close proximity, we never have a problem. They don't "shoot my swing" and call at birds working me, and I return the favor. We shared a week's worth of coffee and stories last year, so it was nice seeing them again.

The place they hunted all last year was actually were I was wanting to go this morning. Realizing these friends may not get many more hunts together, I went to another spot. This spot is a much further walk, crossing several old beaver runs and sloughs, but is one I find myself at when I need to think.

The morning was pretty slow for me by all accounts, but those old men were flat banging the birds. I had managed two greenheads, a wood duck, and raised more questions than answers. Hearing birds overhead, I took a glance and thought I was dreaming. Something to the tune of 30 mallards were cupped up coming into my one little hand carved decoy. With them, though not near as excited to come in, was another bird. It's coloration and secretive nature made it impossible to mistake. Mallards landed literally feet from me and Gauge's hiding spot in the buck brush, and immediately started dabbling. The other bird, circled once, twice, three times, and landed about 80 yards down the break in plain view. While that bird sat there, I thought about air mailing some steel and praying I hit him, but quickly shook that off, content to watch. I wanted, no I needed, this bird to come to my decoy on his own terms. I needed to take him fairly.

After a minute or so, the bird picked up, coming to the mallards sitting around unlarmed - which was strange enough considering the 80 lb lab whimpering and standing on his toe nails waiting for me to shoot. Gauge's ability to sit has been tested many a time by my patience and this was one of those times.

The bird loafed into the decoy and birds, ending a lifetime of searching and a dog's ability to sit:

Heros and Legends

I didn't say a word at Gauge breaking today. In fact, I think it was rather appropriate.

One bird, shot over one hand carved decoy. While my list of hero's may be getting smaller, the legend of this decoy seems to grow.

Vickers, if you read this, I'm sorry about the hunt man. Today I just needed to talk to some ghosts.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Quality over quantity any day...both in the blind and on the blog! Great stuff brother!