Archive for June, 2018

Field and Stream

Posted: June 11, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing

A few weeks ago, my company purchased for me a new work vehicle. A new shiny white pickup. It is equipped with all the options, you name it, AM FM XM radio, chrome bumpers, four wheel drive, a nice fiberglass topper. It even has electric adjustable seats, mirrors and windows. I spend a lot of time on the road traveling between assignments. Although I really loved it, after over 215,000 uneventful miles in the old Tundra, a new vehicle was a welcome break and change of pace.

Unfortunately, with only 3500 miles accumulated on this new beast of burden, I had a fatal encounter with a deer. Fatal for the deer that is. Thinking about how the accident happened, I really don’t believe I killed it. It was broad daylight, it ran out of a deep ditch and squarely in front of me, neither of us had a chance. She was killed on contact and the contact caused a little over 5,000 dollars in damage to the new, shiny white front end of the pickup. I firmly believe that the animal committed suicide after choosing the first fast traveling passing vehicle. I certainly didn’t want to hurt it so I must place some of the blame on the deer. But it did bring back an old memory.

When I was young, I had a memorable encounter with the white tail deer. Growing up in a Field and Stream family, I learned to hunt and fish from my father and older brother. Wild game was a staple of our diet. Fish, rabbit, pheasant, quail and squirrel were not unusual in the freezer or on our dinner table. We always hunted and fished legally, never exceeded the harvest limits and always respected the natural habitat. I saw many deer in the wild and along the side of our roads. The deer population was not as many as it is today. Then the occasional spotting of a small herd of deer was considered a treat or even an event.

But I only remember hunting deer one time with my father. On that occasion, after spotting the deer in the distance and ready to shoot, my father paused looking over the barrel of his slug loaded shotgun and quietly whispers to me, “He sure is a good looking animal, he’ll live for another day” and brought down the heavy Savage 12 gauge to his side. Taking turns, we watched the big magnificently racked buck through our binoculars, letting him slowly wander out of range back into the thick timber of hickory, oak trees and raspberry brier. We never hunted deer again. Some may call that buck fever or weak sentimentalism, I saw it as a father showing his son respect for another living being.

Since then, I have gone on deer and elk hunting expeditions with acquaintances, but in other states where I didn’t have a resident or nonresident license or carry a gun. In places where the shot animals had to be hauled out on pack horses. But I’ve never really hunted, I’ve only observed. So now, after over 50 years, I can say that I have killed my first deer. Not with a slug loaded shotgun or high powered rifle but by the chrome bumper, fender, grille and hood of a shiny, new, white 2012 Silverado Chevy. Not that there is much glamour in either. And certainly not as memorable as it was in the late afternoon on that crisp chilly fall day in southern Iowa when my Dad without shooting, un-shouldered his heavy old Savage shotgun while whispering “he’ll live for another day”.

Such is the life of John.

(First posted 09/10/2013)