Monday, September 22, 2008

Hunting Widow

***While I think Ted Nugent is a loud mouth jerk...his idea of donating extra venison to feed the hungry was a good one
And, this song embodies the feelings of a hunter

FYI...Fred Bear, was a man not a bear

the first day
and here in Michigan
at least the part of Michigan in which I live
it means
a bright yellow orange ball of Harvest moon hanging low and heavy in the night sky
it means sweaters in morning and night
and hot sun during the day
it means the leaves change from green and lush
to hues of red, orange, brown and yellow, thin and wispy
floating elegantly to the ground
crunching underfoot
ripe and sweet and rotting
it means my drive to work might take a half hour longer
as old men in overalls bounce on huge tractors
as they did in the spring
but this time
the reaping not the sowing
It means for a few hours on Friday night
the sowing is left
so the young boys can run a ball down the field
blond, big, Dutch and German
displaying the strength that years of working hard on the family farm has cultivated
the corn
feed not sweet
in silos for the long winter to fatten the animals
the soy
yes soy
lots of soy in my parts
my home is home to Edan Soy
gone from green and ivy-like
to fields of amber glowing in morning light
hot cider
apples sweet and juicy
huge night fires
pumpkins fat and green to orange

Autumn here in my speck of the world
means Mother Earth is about to hibernate
she is giving her last fruits
before she sleeps
every bit she grew is being pulled from her
except the winter wheat
those seeds are being planted
to sleep with her through the winter
it also means
boys, and here in this town girls too
are gearing up
keeping track through mental note
because Mother Earth
also gives us
one last chance to make it through the winter
and that last chance
is flesh
flesh grown fat off the same feed corn
that will keep the cows' milk flowing
the beautiful grace of leaping athletes
fawn and brown eyed
man verses beast
the quite draw of a bow
and the deep bass guitar strum
as bow takes flight
startled leap
and subsequent fall

It is not sport here in Michigan
it is not trophy
it is not for the wall
it is for the winter
it is what we will eat
when beef prices soar
it is free of hormones and steroids
free of charge
save permit and gear
it can be stored longer because it was raised better
and it is humane
as the herds here must be thinned
the long winter as Mother Earth sleeps
is carnage in itself
as some will starve
and others, on the constant search for food
will die a slower more brutal death
by way of car
so one quick, well aimed arrow
will take the life in seconds and provide life for months

I am
a hunting widow
a tradition
a way of life
an understanding of hormones
cycles of life
taught from birth
outside the classroom
Mother Earth providing
the way she does each and every year
and every season

And it has begun
the giddy excitement
is B strong enough to draw a bow?
and is G old enough to sit quite and observe the process
an initiation in my house
into manhood
G too young to hunt
learning that quite is more than a virtue
but a must
and B on the cusp
old enough
but is he strong enough?
I come inside in the wee hours of morning to find
the TV on hunting channels
Aaron, disappearing on Sat mornings
to adjust bows, practice, prepare
the woods will take my boys
this season
and I will be home alone
anticipating the moods as they tromp back
will it be elation or disappointment
will G be old enough to master the quiet of the wood?
Or will Aaron leave him with me as the men sound like nothing but wind on grass?
Will there be sweat and smiles as they drag a doe?
or will there be anger and frustration
as they wonder out loud
how deer can be so stupid when it comes to cars
and so smart when it comes to hunters?
will there be meat in the freezer
that will last until next bow season?
Or will there be nothing?
better yet
will the wise buck
and be a point of pride
or will he once again outwit us all
and continue his reign?
It has begun
lonely season for me
a point
when I am well aware
that I am the only girl in the house
even domestic Buddy
instincts that cannot be quelled by generations of ease and bowls
and petting
desires the thrill of the hunt and the joy of the kill
yes I am left alone here
the only girl in my testosterone filled home
the one soul unwilling to brave the elements
the one soul unwilling to watch in awe
as a living body
is taken apart bit by bit
to feed other living bodies
It is both a beautiful tradition
and the loneliest time
for a girl like me
a hunting widow

This weekend
I was dragged along
out of guilt
both mine for wanting to be a part of my boys' lives
and theirs
for wanting me to not feel left out
but not wanting to ignore
the call of the wild

These photos were taken at Cabelas
giant bears fighting over a fallen moose

also a playground for young future hunters



You know you're a hunting family when your five year-old can accurately name animals you've never heard of or seen before




Ms Picket To You said...

my sister once had some workers at her house practice with their bow during the lunch break. oops! arrow shot off, straight down her back yard and into through the window (!!) of the neighbor through the woods.

there is no hunting in suburbia. except for a parking spot.

farlane said...

Hello - loved your poem. I've linked over from Deer Diary, it's Monday and there's snow in Michigan on Absolute Michigan!

Jan said...

Beautiful poem. I was raised in a house full of hunting boys/men. Every fall there were great discussions of where all of the deer trophies would be hung. And later many tales of near misses but never the success until they had their own homes. Now I have a bow and enjoy that quiet sit in the woods. No luck filling my freezer, yet.
(found your blog from a Dig Michigan link)

Jamie said...

This is a fantastic poem! One that I can relate to. I'm glad I stumbled upon it.