My wife and I became parents for the first time just a whisker more than 15 months ago. The eagerness with which we waited for the arrival of our little girl was like only two other great waits that I can compare. The first is the wait for Santa Claus to visit my house as a child. The other is the merciless anticipation for an upcoming hunt.
At this moment, only 13 sunrises lay between me and the annual pilgrimage north to Scio, NY. This is my favorite trip each hunting season for a number of reasons – none of which ranks higher than the opportunity to enjoy the woods with the fellowship of my friend, Kenny. Of course, there also is the opportunity to visit my parents and friends in the homeland that helped shape my being.
The anticipation also finds its roots in the chance to make it into the woods of our family’s farm. It’s not the biggest tract of land – measuring only a few hundred acres when combining all the property – but to me it represents all that a whitetail deer stands for. The rolling hardwoods and large hay fields are dotted with the memories of some 17 years of deer hunting. The anecdotes that are a part of its history, mostly passed down by my father, date yet another 30 years beyond that.
There is the spot where I harvested my first deer (a six point), the place where I saw my first black bear and even the trail my dad and I tracked a deer I had shot the first archery season after his stroke. The memories are truly countless and I look forward to rekindling those memories at a later time.
We often joke that I feel like I know every tree on that farm. In fact, I can say with certainty that one could blindfold me, make me dizzy and drive for an hour before dropping me off anywhere on our farm and I can tell you where I am and recite each deer encounter I’ve experienced in the area within a minute’s time.
Speaking of minutes, only 18719 to go …