By Matthew Knoblauch
Now that the New York deer season is officially closed, I would like to sincerely express my wishes to you that it was indeed a good one. Perhaps an unforgettable one.
I hope you had your season filled with the same things that were similar to the autumn of my own, another season that gave a bit of purpose to the months. Past times that now brim with sweet memories of a November rut or a familiar tree stand on the edge of Uncle Ben’s farm.
I hope there was time spent afield with people that we might not have much time left with, and for all one knows, perhaps memories of a great buck heard of only in fiction and campfire fairytales.
I hope that you lived a fairytale this fall. One of the ones you might have read about when you were a boy still daydreaming about the times when you’d be able to walk proudly with your own Winchester Model 70.
I hope it involved a walk through crisp autumn darkness and beneath a sleepy screech owl in a tree while the ground lay dusted with snow, but only up high in the hills where such a fable is best. The owl should keep business to itself in the hollow of the oak because it knows, too, of a storied buck that roams in the morning light.
I hope your spot was as lovely as any, somewhere beyond a ridge with the rolling hills stretched far beyond the fog. Your home may be somewhere down there, tucked away between the trees and farms of a distant valley, and if you look carefully, you’ll be able to see the smoke from your chimney, too.
I hope the fog rolled free from the fields and the sun crept over the trees just enough to add a touch of taste to your fairytale as your trophy buck came in from behind a doe.
I hope that your shooting was straight and your heart was filled.
I want to think (cause that’s what I do best) that your season was safe beyond measure. I hope your boots cleared over every log that had the potential to be too high and every head-high branch stayed free from your eyes (which I am sure didn’t matter, knowing you obviously had shooting glasses on).
I hope you brought all the right things with you, too. Like the thermos, the one that doesn’t leak, or the one that doesn’t go cold in just an hour. I am sure you forgot the one in the back of the cupboard behind all the others, but I hope you didn’t.
I know those pockets of snacks from the kitchen cupboard tasted better than they ever have, granted that you remembered them. Or the muffins you grabbed…