I know a girl

I know a girl who’s never had a bad hunt. Never been frustrated by the situation or disappointed with the results. Doesn’t complain when the walk is long or curse when others shoot too soon and too high at working flocks. She cherishes every moment on the pond, even when it’s slow or worse. There’s no ‘oh well, it beats working’ kind of rationalization; it’s all the same to her, all great. She’s my dog. And while I have respected, even been in awe of the knowledge and skills of many hunters that I’ve known or simply known of, it’s my dog I want to be like, that I’m still learning from.

A swarm of coots plows noisily across the water, a hawk kiting not far above, catching my attention only briefly. She watches their every move. A sparrow latches onto a stalk of brush, swaying with it, barely noticed by me beyond the surprise of it. The dog is fascinated, and seems to intuit that if she moves more than her eyes it will fly away. Four swans glide low down the check just a few yards over our heads, and I do watch them but the expression on my painted face shows I wish they were geese. The dog gazes at them, enraptured; they are not of lesser value to her. Shots are fired again by the clients of the goose guide across the road, and one bird out of the ten in a high flock falls. I mutter something, which she mistakes for ‘go’ and bolts from her kennel. I call her back but before she tucks her head into the shelter, she looks at me with eyes that say ‘I could’ve got it, it was only two ponds away.’

Around noon the crew surveys the empty sky one last time and decides it’s time to go, home to a beer and sports on TV or chores or family time. We all like hunting together, though so far this season it’s been just hanging out together. And yet I know each of us is packing up and plodding through the water back to the road with thoughts of how much the gas cost to get here, how little sleep we got, what we’ll need to do to better compete with the guide’s 2,000 decoys that have covered his pond and his field in white, and wondering where next year’s tank will be if this one doesn’t improve.

The dog has no such thoughts. Her tail started smacking the sides of her hut as soon as we started organizing our gear. As we trudge back, she dances along the check, diving into the water, then rearing up on hind legs and giving the decoys one last look, on the chance that out there somewhere, hidden among the hundred-some bobbing shapes is a real duck. She races the quad back to the parking lot, glancing back at us with what can only be described as the purest expression of joy. On the hour-and-a-half drive home, my tired brain is scrunched around problems that need solving, actions that need to be taken — work, and hunting, the menu I’m planning for Thanksgiving with Danielle’s family, my Obamacare-cancelled health care plan. The dog is stretched out on the camouflage neoprene backseat, rocked to sleep as we fly down the 99 and breathing deeply. Every now and then I catch the soft ruff or yip she makes when she’s dreaming. Of coots. Swans and sparrows. Muddy water and all the people she loves.

Schatzie maintains a morning vigil on our pond.

Schatzie maintains a morning vigil on our pond.

~ by SpeakingZenaphorically on November 24, 2013.

3 Responses to “I know a girl”

  1. When I read the first paragraph I thought that you found an ideal woman. A living unicorn. On the other side I wouldn’t mind to enjoy every moment of life as most of our furry friends seem to do.

  2. I take pleasure in, lead to I found just what I was looking for.

    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.

  3. Hello to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of this web site; this website contains remarkable and really
    fine information designed for visitors.

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