“Oh the roads we ran and the folks we knew, the risky things that we used to do, now it’s over and I know were through, and I wish we had our time again, I wish we had our time…” John Hartford
They called it the House Rock, appropriate because it was bigger than most homes, around here at least. He sat with his back against the limestone, in exactly the same spot that he had chosen for the past forty years. The angle of the stone and the forest floor made it a perfect place to sit and survey the huge cove of woods below him.
This was how they had always done it. Start far down the mountain, walk the poplar hollow to the third branch on the right. You followed that till it plumb ran out, then you pulled straight up into the low gap. The House Rock was waiting for you there. You sat here for at least thirty minutes, sometimes an hour, recovering from the climb, listening, soaking in the woods. If you didn’t find them on the climb up here, you might run into them going down the other side.
Turkeys, that is.
He and Ben had always followed this procedure and it had served them well. They didn’t get into a flock every time they made this journey, but it was one of their traditional walks and they did it every year whether they found the turkeys or not.
Now Ben was gone. How much time did he have left to make this hunt?
By my calculations we have just about two weeks until our first hunting season comes to us. Most states start the dove season on September 1. After that it is fast and furious as the different seasons roll by, squirrel, early waterfowl, archery deer, fall turkey, (if you have one in your state), rabbit, and another waterfowl season.
Everything comes to a grand crescendo when the much awaited rifle buck season comes in then you have at least one doe season, maybe some muzzle loading deer season, then finish up in January and February with small game and a late waterfowl! The order is not the same in all states, but that might be close.
That is a big menu to choose from with a lot of sides. If you are an experienced hunter, you have noticed something in the past several years.
Boys and girls, it goes really fast.
You look at it on the calendar; you think you have a lot of time, these seasons stretch over several months. Once it starts it is a whirlwind, and like my buddy says, they blow the whistle and the game is over for another year.
Count the number of days in the season you love best. How many days can you actually hunt? If are working to make a living, not many. If you are retired, God bless you, I hope that you go every day that you can and want to. The real question is this; how many days do you have to the tramp woods on this earth?
I don’t know and you don’t know; only the Man upstairs knows. If you are living and able, your time is now. What are you waiting for? A better time? Again, your time is now. That secret place you have been thinking about going to for the past few years, the old buddy that you have been meaning to call and say “Hey, let’s hike to the House Rock one more time”! That grand kid, or any kid, that you have thought about taking to the woods, call them, your time is now.
One more thing, I want you to do something for me. This week I want you to call an old hunting or fishing buddy that maybe you have not heard from in a while. In case you haven’t noticed folks, they will not be around forever. Do it, call them, do it this week.
He was half dozing in the sunshine, leaning against the old Browning, and he muttered “Ben, we’re burning daylight, we best be goin’”.
“What’d you say Papaw”? The kid beside him asked.
Realizing where he was, he glanced down at the boy, all wide eyed and full of wonder and amazement at finally getting to go to the big woods with his grand dad.
He smiled at the boy’s youth and eagerness; it was all in front of him. “I said we better get goin’ ol’ buddy!” “We got a lot of ground to cover before dark”!
“Oh me oh my how the years do fly, it makes no difference and we all know why, dear old friends have to turn their eye, and I wish we had our time again, I wish we had our time”.