Entry Forty-four: Sitting in the Stand.

[A story in many parts: Part Thirteen]

Wake-up was, once again, at 5:00 a.m. but I could sense the enthusiasm for the hunt had waned a bit since Thursday morning. Everyone seemed to be dragging and someone recycled the continental breakfast joke from Thursday. Again, no one laughed.

That morning they took me to an entirely different place located on a separate tract of land, away from where I’d been hunting the previous days. I think it was a "special" place because word was out that it was my first hunt and everyone wanted me to kill something. The need for a "vicarious kill" had reached a fever pitch. Two new guys, I believe they were members of the Plantation hunting club, were my drivers that morning. Their names were Tony and Pablo and they were from Miami. It was a little weird taking off by myself with two guys I didn't know to an area I had never been to before, but I had to suppress all of the Hollywood scenarios that were rushing through my mind. A hunter had to do what a hunter had to do. I ended up in a tripod stand on the edge of a road surrounded by really dense forest. I was instructed to look down both sides of the road because the deer were supposed to cross at any number of places along the path. It was cloudy at the onset and it had started warming up, but it was very quiet. Maybe too quiet. I sat in the dark hoping Tony and Pablo remembered where they left me.

As I sat there I began to ruminate on the subculture that is hunting. I could not fathom doing this very often. Dad told me once the hunting season starts, these guys are gone constantly. And this is it. Outside of actually shooting something, this is what they do. Sit. Wait. Wait. Anticipate. I think that's where the adrenaline comes from—the anticipation. My problem was I had no experience to base any anticipation on, so I sat there and anticipated nothing. I was proving to be quite successful at that. I enjoyed the solitude and the slowing down, but was finding myself in a desperate need of a family fix. I started imagining what Hope and the kids were doing while I sat there. Eating breakfast, getting the kids ready for their soccer games; eating lunch; not sitting in the woods waiting for an animal to appear.

In earlier talks, Dad he told me how this particular trip was different than the previous ones. When they traveled to Texas, they all rode together and would have two days of sharing and talking on the way. The facilities in Texas didn't have a television and during their free time they rode around and explored the grounds. He was disappointed in the lack of "fellowship" time. The problem was we didn't finish until 9:00 at night and after we ate, there wasn't a lot of time to visit. He also said that, after 15 years, this whole gig may be getting old. I know I aged over the weekend. I can only imagine what multiple trips would do to me.

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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