Today was one of those day’s that sticks with a person. No, nothing spectacular happened. Nothing earthshaking or heartbreaking. Just a simple day filled with simple pleasures that make it easy to believe we’d be content if everyday was like it.
I woke this morning with the sun, naturally with no alarm. There was no reason to hurry, I had nothing pressing to do. Just live out the day. I slipped into insulated coveralls to take care of the outside dogs and was surprised at the mild temperature outside. There was fresh coffee in the kitchen, but I let Jack and Molly run around while I grabbed the maul and split the blocks of birch I’d cut up yesterday. A good way to work up a bit of an appetite for breakfast.
Indoors the Christmas tree lights glowed cheerily and I traded looks between the tree in the living room and the birds outside the dining room window. Breakfast was tasty, and the coffee was particularly delicious. There were some freshly painted bass poppers drying in the den, so I moseyed in and experimented with ways to add rubber legs and skirts to the foam bodies before I put the finishing touches on them. All the while I pictured casting to a rocky shoreline and whooping it up when the hog bass bashed the fly on the surface, and contemplated the colors to complete them.
Over the last several weeks it’s become my practice to spend Sunday afternoons watching at least part of the football game with Dad at his home in town. We usually get some food, have a beer, and generally reaffirm how glad we are not to be devoted fans. As often as not we end the game playing dominoes at his table. That was my plan for this afternoon, but it was a beautiful day and there was time for a quick hunt on the way to town.
I turned Jack and Molly loose on a powerline that I wouldn’t usually hunt earlier in the season. There was mostly old timber bordering the right-of-way and much of the way is through swampy terrain that will have you knee deep in water when it’s not frozen. But it is frozen now, and with a couple of inches of snow and today’s sun and 30 degree temps it made for a fantastic day to be out.
Jack bounded ahead and disappeared into the woods while Molly raced around in front always keeping an eye on me. I was just enjoying the movement when I heard Jacks bell fall silent off the south side. I caught a look at his orange collar from under the powerline and heeled Molly as we came up behind him. I told Molly to sit when we were close and I moved around in front of Jack, shotgun at ready. I spotted a running grouse trying to put some distance between us and stepped quickly to get a position. The grouse ducked behind a huge old popple and took wing. I fired when I saw it for a bit but never touched it. Molly broke at the shot and started another grouse, this one heading fast the other way. Seems most of my shooting is best done when I have no time to think, and that’s how this worked. I stood happy with my gun open as the dogs looked for the bird when a third grouse got up from the same vicinity and came flying right at me at about eye level. It banked left when it was about thirty feet away, flying as slow as it could and still stay up, zigged through some trees, rose up over the cover and hung for a second before going on out of sight. About as easy as they come, if your gun is loaded!
Sunday 18 Dec. 2011