Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Almost got run over by deer twice yesterday. I think cars kill more of them than hunters do. Around here, we'll do what we can to thin the herd as soon as hunting season starts. The signs of an over browsed forest are all around us. I don't think I'll do it myself, though.

I personally amuse myself with my own contradictions when I think about hunting. Yep...I'm a flip-flopper.

I actually have only taken a rifle into the woods one time in the last ten years. I liked sitting there being still, watching. Several came by me. One doe took notice of me and stomped her foot, over and over, to let me know she didn't like me being there while her young foraged. A medium sized buck walked up behind her but then decided I was the more important occupant of the woods. I had already put my gun sight on his chest and...Pow!

Yep! That is exactly what I said, "Pow!" I didn't sqeeze the trigger, I just said pow. The Buck looked at me and trotted off. The Doe stomped the ground again and started browsing, raising her head from time to time to look at me and stomp. Her young of the year never paid the least bit of attention to any of this. I don't have a high expectation for that one's longevity, even if I won't harvest him.

But there's venison in the freezer, anyway. I don't like shooting them. I do like eating them. Two is plenty for our whole family for the entire year but the farm produces enough for several to get taken by hunters and poachers, several more to get taken by cars, and still the herd increases. Disease has started to hit the overpopulated herd, so last year we decided to be more aggressive. I wish I could introduce mountain lions and wolves as predators back into the environment of east Tennessee. Instead I trained up and introduced a fifteen year old hunter.

He has become a fair shot. He has never wounded an animal. Everything has been a clean kill so far. It took him a long time to figure out that the reason I could shoot the heart out of a dixie cup was that I had killed a huge number of dixie cups over the years...my favorite prey! You don't walk into the woods and just start shooting...well some folks do, I guess, but this is the child I will unleash on the world in a few years ( get ready out there!) and I have standards and ethics to pass on. I wouldn't let him start squirrel hunting until he could go down to the clay bank and shoot the black out of a paper target with no misses. Then he watched as I cleaned his first squirrel, showing him how. I've not touched another one except to cook them. It was very very hard to stand there beside him in the after dark cold and watch him fumble with a sharp knife and mutilate a dead rodent. A three minute job took thirty but eventually he got it done and I cooked his kill. Parboiled and barbecued. Not a bad way to eat a bushy tailed tree rat.

Wild turkeys used to be rare but they cause trouble around here now, there are so many. My father only killed one in his entire life. There is a picture, somewhere, of him holding the dead gobbler. I still had that very bird's spurs for a while after he died but I don't know what happened to them. I have a pretty good guess, though. Mom remarried and somehow, the artifacts of my dad disappeared.

I think the only real artifacts of my Dad's life that have had any lasting presence are his two sons. Now I have two, myself, and we'll see what, if any, manifestation I bestow on future events. We pass it on and hope for the best. My Dad and his Dad and I, and all the poor suffering women that we caused to suffer, eventually wind up in the same way...Taking our turn at giving a spin to the merry go round and wandering off, hoping someone else will keep it going by doing the same thing down the road. Of course some folks think the road of eternity has an end, stops, doesn't keep going, and that's too bad. It is not very helpful in the long run, to those of us with a more far reaching view of the Universe.

I don't believe in the inevitability of Armageddon, but I think our President does. I think he thinks the Merry go round will stop one day and it might be up to him to make it happen. He certainly acts that way, sometimes...OK, most of the time! That would explain his environmental policy decisions. When he was running for election the first time, he said he would tighten Carbon dioxide standards if he won. He wasn't elected but he won anyway and then he did just the opposite of what he promised. This year, Japan is going to be hit by the largest number of Typhoons in their history, which is phenomenal, when you consider that Japan has a 6,000 year recorded history, that's quite a lot of time to suddenly get a record in now. This is a clear sign that there is too much energy stored in our planet's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide causes this to happen. George Bush was going to help stop this from happening. A President is supposed to look out for all of us in big and farsighted ways, but the one we have now isn't doing that. There are only two weeks left before the election so I guess he figures, "Why start now?"

I think he thinks he doesn't have to do his part and give his spin to the merry go round. Well, I think he owes it to us but he missed his chance to do his part and now we have to pick up the slack, or it will be us that will be parboiled and barbecued.

Worse! It will be our artifacts, the human ones, our children, that can't be found. In fifty years or maybe less, they will know just exactly how badly we failed them!

I'm doing what I can to help, are you? Maybe I'm not doing enough but I plan to do everything I can think of to follow the one part of Rastafarian thought that makes sense, and that is to:

"Stop this Armageddeon" as Marley puts it.

I'll work on what things I can, today, and I'll also teach my children to shoot straight before I put them out there for you guys to have to deal with.

Fair enough?

Peace,

Steve

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