Quiet opening day provides respite from busyness of life
It was opening day of deer season, and I, with a new handwarmer, some beef jerky in my pocket and my 30-30 Winchester lever-action deer rifle, I sat at the ready. The temperature was 17 degrees. Thankfully there was no wind. Not a whisper of wind. The sky was clear and I was ready.
I am sat at the edge of a little field, where just a week ago I spotted a big deer leaping across where I was sitting. Couldn’t tell if it was a buck. Coming out of the pine plantation to the north and following a deer trail. Would I see a repeat? I was ready.
Nothing. Quiet. An abundance of quiet, which I rather enjoy. The sun crept over the trees to the east, warming my back. My back needs warming.
And then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It was a squirrel, running, stopping to look at me, running some more. Looking at me again. And then it disappeared. Nothing else happened. Surrounded by quiet.
Then I saw it, a chick-a-dee. It flies by and lands on a tree limb to my right. Calling its name over and over again, “Chick-a-dee-dee, Chick-a-dee-dee.” Breaking the silence. Welcoming the morning.
I’m enjoying the solitude and the quiet. No phone ringing. No computer demanding my attention. But where were the deer? Were they on a different deer trail that morning? Or were they hunkering down in some sunny place, enjoying the quiet of a frosty late-November morning?
At noon my son, Steve asked, “What did you see?” My report, “one squirrel and one chick-a-dee.” He smiled.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes solitude and quiet is enough reason for deer hunting.
Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to www.jerryapps.com.