Hunger, Hunt Harvest

Fall has arrived. What a beautiful time of the year. What does fall represent to you?  Do you find special meaning in it?  Or is it simply the end of summer? The coming of winter?

Hunger1Fall is my favorite season. I wait with great anticipation for September to arrive every year.  As the days get shorter and the evening air starts to get that cool crispness, I start to get restless, and feel bursts of energy and adrenaline rushing through my veins.  I can’t wait to get to a wild place–celebrate the Kaleidoscope of brilliant colors splashed across the landscape. The perfect, magical collision of greens, yellows, reds, oranges and browns seem to shout out “this is what nature is made of!”   An amazing fanfare “goodbye for now” to the migrating birds, hibernating bear, and the scores of the summers young adult animals that will soon be facing their first winter.

Most people I am close to don’t share my excitement. They feel quite the opposite, for many reasons.  Apparently one reason is because I tend to disappear come fall time.

Well, um, of course—-after all, it’s hunting season, right?

And although it’s not been pressed by anyone, I am sure there is a dumbfounded struggle for some to understand why, oh why, why, why, do I choose to go out and trudge through the woods, fields, prairies and swamps, in search of wild animals like pheasant, turkey, deer, and more? Why am I so devoted to getting out there, long before the sun is up to long after sundown, day after day, after day…..after day……

How can I be gone for weeks upon weeks all alone, foregoing all else, choosing a solitary life away from civilization, focused on eat-sleep-hunt until the seasons close?

Gee, I don’t know. I just know I have to do it.

For me, it’s not at all about just getting out there and killing something. It’s a passionate lifeline to the outdoors.  A simple walk down a logging trail can unfold into hours of humble awareness and appreciation, reveling in feelings of peace, security, resilience, and forgiveness.   Standing alone in a forest—are we really alone?  Every fiber in my body zings with aliveness, super charged senses.  I am dialed into the animal tracks in the dirt, the breaking of a branch, the aroma of earth and dry rotted wood.   Aware of the snap of a raccoon branch, versus the snap of a deer branch.   Aware of the incredible blending of grouse feathers against a cluster of stumps.  Aware of the most delicate crunching of leaves just 10 yards to my left, for the last 10 minutes, and when I stop, it stops….the exhilaration is indescribable.  No, I am not alone.

Sure, I suppose whatever it is could be hunting me as well. That’s part of what makes it all so enticing.  I accept natures challenge.  The rules of the game, the consequences for playing.  There is no other place on this earth where I feel more like I belong.

Time becomes irrelevant in wild places. “Things” become irrelevant.  Opinions, issues and ideas, all become irrelevant.  Surroundings and choices become beautifully simple.  Spending a day alone with nature can be an earth shattering, deafening-loud experience, with the crashing of waves to shore, the clinking of leafs falling to the ground, the cries of the birds, howling of the coyotes,  scores of buzzing insects, wind ripping through the woods and the thunderous crack and thud of a falling tree.  The landscape surrounding me is what’s relevant.  Nothing more.

And if I am so fortunate as to be presented a shot, it is with grace and gratitude that I take it. We are both doing our best in this wild environment.  My quarry is trying to survive.  I am too.  If in fact we are at this point where everything is exactly as it should be to execute a perfect shot, then it was meant to be, for both of us.  While my heart aches for the loss of a beautiful precious life, I also rejoice in knowing I am sustaining my own life. My opportunity to take game may present itself in one day, after several days, weeks, months, or not at all. But either way, I’ve connected at the core to the very heart of nature.

There is no describing the feeling of self-sufficiency, whether it’s harvesting a crop of beans, a hillside of wild blueberries, a pheasant or a big game animal. I take humble pride in knowing I can provide for myself.  The planning, the endurance and execution of the hunt, not to mention the enormous amount of work afterwards, the physical strength to bring that game home and then prepare it…well I wouldn’t trade that world for anything.

On a purely rational level, I can’t explain it. But I can tell you that 24-7, 365, there is a hunger inside me, an all-powerful, all demanding hunger to immerse myself into an authentic realm of being one with nature.  It’s been there as long as I can remember.  Most of the year, it can be nurtured with virtually anything outdoors, not just hunting. It could mean fishing, gardening, hiking,biking, canoeing, or simply sitting on a log and breathing in the wild around me.  But come fall time, that hunger rules my very soul.

To suggest I not go, or not go as often, would be like saying “just don’t breathe air for the next few months.”

I’ve met many women frustrated with their husbands each fall because they take off for a week during rifle season in November.   Or they book a hunt with “the buddies” out west for 10 days.  Or, they grab the dog and take to a field every chance they get….

I can’t comment much about that. You see, there was a time in my life where I was just like those women.  It tore me up inside when the man I loved took off to the woods without me.  When he didn’t want me with, over and over.   Leaving me to take care of the house while he did the very thing I live and breathe for.

Yes, I can relate to that feeling of being left.

Well, that doesn’t happen anymore. For years, it’s been just me–and my dogs.  Sure, it would be awesome to haveHunger2 a great guy to share the outdoors with.  Sure, but until that day happens, I’m living my life as I was meant to, walking those serene trails with or without that guy.

Connecting with nature is a critical component to making me who I am. I understand it’s not just a hobby—it’s a way of life—the very core of my life.  It feeds me, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Those who truly know me, know and respect that although I will disappear for weeks on end, eventually I’ll be back.

First and foremost, I am a passionate outdoors woman. I will always live to fulfill my hunger to hunt and harvest.

 

You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”. Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in my personal perspective, and PR Brady AdVentures.

 

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Comments

  1. Oh, how I love fall too! Connecting with nature is such a gift, readily available to all of us…a gift that is a life-changer. Thank you for sharing your experiences here.

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