And then comes Opening Day…

A long nine months has passed. Green days of spring warmed into hot days of summer then cooled and saw the color of leaves begin to change as fall returned. Much has happened and been done, but throughout there was always a sliver of mind on the return of hunting season.

For me, that means ducks, and geese. A ladder up to the rafters for decoys and gear. A trip to the mechanic to service the old truck. A little oil for the shotgun and a case of shells from the gun shop. And whispering with the dog about the adventures ahead. The daydreams of the past nine months are gelling into plans for the next three.

Opening day approaches. Making a list of what will be needed, which won’t be necessary the times after, once the rustiness of the off-season is gone. Hunting license and stamps, check. Day pass, check. Waders, check. Food, snack, drinks – for me and the dog, check. Guns and ammo, check. Headlamp and spare batteries, check.

And then it arrives. The midnight alarm, the long drive in the dark. That first wade of the season, pushing through dark water, step by step, the dog happily splashing along at my side, a sensation that’s sorely missed in the off-season. The smack of decoys tossed out on the pond, the settling in to await the dawn.

Shots heard in the distance, and nearer. Then a duck swoops by, seen too late. Looking to the right, a pair shoots past on the left, no shot. Finally a lone drake Pintail banks around my stand of tules, wings arced and slowing. One shot and it splashes down hard.

The trek back to the truck, the dog as fresh and lively as she was on the way out. Me, a little tired and dried by the sun, and the legs feeling the effects of the wade.

Back home in time for a short nap, then waking to a perfectly made Manhattan in a chilled glass and the deliciously smelling dinner that Danielle has in the oven. We sip the drinks on the deck, the dog asleep at our feet, the oaks beyond losing more leaves to the evening breeze. And I know that the best season ever has only just begun.

~ by SpeakingZenaphorically on October 21, 2013.

One Response to “And then comes Opening Day…”

  1. Thank you for a well written post that evokes the anticipation and enjoyment of opening day…PRP

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