Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021

I didn’t go out yesterday. I couldn’t force myself to give in to the heat. The 82 degree reading on the thermometer told me all I needed to know: I would be staying home.

I forgot to mention that Brian and I covered a lot of miles on Saturday afternoon to check some cameras Brian put out back in the summer. The trip wasn’t what we expected. Someone found one of the cameras and deleted all of the pictures of the card. Then, to top it off, he walked away from the camera so we could only see his back. It’s hard to say why he deleted all of the pictures, but I would be willing to guess. The picture of him was taken on 9/26 at 10:30 a.m. I’m guessing he was bowhunting the day before the season opened, and he probably walked in front of the camera with his bow. So he chose to delete all of the pictures that appeared before he showed up on it. Then, he left the few with him walking away from the camera because he thought he could get past it before it started taking pictures again, or he was pretending he was just walking through the woods.

How may times do I have to say it… why do people feel the need to mess with other people’s stuff. I just don’t get it. People can’t help themselves. Whenever I see other cameras, I wave at them to let the person know he/she got me on camera, or I walk around them so my presence is unknown. I’ve never felt the urge to open someone’s camera. I’ve also never felt the urge to help myself to it. I hope the guy who messed with the camera doesn’t see Brian in the woods. I’m thinking it won’t be a good thing. I’ll tell people again because they just don’t seem to understand it. You can’t delete videos from the cards when you take them out. You can delete all of the photos, but the videos stay behind the scenes. I have some good videos of people. The videos can tell you a lot of things about people, especially the ones with sound.

So tonight I made my way around the back of a mountain I grew up on. I make the journey every year. It’s a place that has my heart and always will. I killed my first deer there, and I’ve spent many hours among the trees on that mountain. I learned about life, love and loss on that hill. I also learned how to become and adult, and I learned that my father and I were on our way to becoming best friends when I entered adulthood.

When my insulin pump beeped on the way out of the woods tonight, I sat on a log and felt a tear form in the corner of my eye. A few seconds later, it started its journey down my cheek and ended up in the corner of my mouth. Looking across the horizon, I suddenly realized 40 years have passed in the blink of an eye.

Gazing into the darkening sky, I saw myself following Dad down the same hill where I currently sat. I had on my little orange coat and my winter hat. My pack boots from Joy store were hunter brown with bright yellow laces. I would wear them for many years. Then, I saw the two does make their way up the hill as I whispered, “Dad, Dad, can I shoot one.”

“Yeah bud, you can shoot one.”

I leveled that single pump BB gun on the front shoulder of the lead doe and squeezed the trigger. The deer were basically unfazed as they made their way out of sight. And that was the beginning of my deer hunting journey that has brought be halfway across the country and back. I always come back to this place, though. It’s in my heart. It is my soul. This mountain is who I am.

I gathered myself and enjoyed the hike out of the woods. I fell asleep with my back against this rock many times. Although I have become gray with age, my youth is still found in the chair-like rock. The rock hasn’t aged a day, yet my body is on the backside of the mountain and headed into the valley below.

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