Outdoors column: It doesn’t matter

Dec. 02, 2013 @ 11:42 PM

I am leaning into the tree, watching the three wild turkeys scatter away, while behind me, two hunters are wrestling amongst the two camouflage blankets.

It is Thanksgiving Day and as part of tradition, we are hunting, or so it would seem.

There are times that I wonder of the consensual nature of volunteering to take my boys hunting, together, side-by-side, as a team, on the same land, all while making valid attempts to being quiet, still, aware, and stealthy.

Some days are great. Some days are not so great. It seems the not so great days are plentiful and those that imprint most in your mind are limited, or so it would seem.

When they stood, covered in leaves and giggles, the turkeys were long gone and all of the squirrels were gone, too. I didn’t scold. Instead, I encouraged them to climb into the blind with me and to use the blankets for warmth instead of wrestling props.

As is customary, I sit between them; this I have learned is a necessity. Before sitting, I took the thermos from the bag and poured hot chocolate and tucked the blanket and pulled tight toboggans and snugged gloves. We were settled.

It was quiet and cold and soon the birds and then the squirrels reconvened as birds and squirrels do, following intrusive invasion from wrestling kids amongst camouflaged blankets. It was peaceful and soft like a cold pillow and upon finishing hot cocoa and settling in for the remaining hour of daylight, we shared what really mattered on this day and the other 364 days of the year.

Somewhere behind us, something scurried about and we were all hushed. That moment was enough to seize attention and weaken their eyes.

Honestly, I would not have noticed these two hunters were sleeping had it not been for the snoring. One was leaned back, mouth agape and the other collapsed against my shoulder. For an amount of time that will eventually be remembered as right and too short before my eyes, they slept.

It didn’t matter of the game we sought and the game that passed. It didn’t matter that the tradition of a tradition became different. I woke them and we left this place quieter than when we arrived.

On the ride home, with the cold and wind of an open-air vehicle in our face, one of them leaned into me and said, “It doesn’t matter this time that we didn’t get anything.” That day, it really didn’t matter that they scared off turkeys, wrestled, slept, and the game we sought became less of an importance. What did matter is that nothing else matters when time is short, they are before your eyes, and the quarry sought and not found is not as important as what is found that matters.

Enjoy your time outdoors.

You may reach Jason Hawkins at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com