Hunting turkeys has been a trial-and-error undertaking for outdoorsman Jason Hawkins.
My grandmother passed recently and though she never walked with me down a game trail at 4 a.m., she was right there with me in spirit and will be forever.
For a moment that is neither too long nor too short nor too empty nor too full nor too anything more than the moment I listen.
Within the cloak of formality, the informality of angling became pleasure and respite, despite the week that was.
By all scientific accounts and amateur observations, wild game and fish feed when they are hungry, move when they want and are involuntarily involved in the same cycle of life today as they have been forever. What has changed is how we communicate what we see, do, catch, chase, observe or experience in the outdoors.
I am in a field behind my house and with each step, I create more distance from where I was to where I am headed — still a mystery to me.
I am walking and it is the ground that I feel. Frozen in time, the mud holds true. There is a path here and droppings there, and I push through tall weeds to follow something anywhere.
When the door is shut and the truck pulls away, he begins his journey into the woods. Here he lifts himself atop a felled log so that he may see. Here, after he is warmed by a fire by the creek, he swings from a sapling tree and lands across the creek, repeats, repeats again and repeats again, too.
Two years ago when I embarked upon the dynamic idea of featuring local people and personalities and particular interests in the Hillsborough and Northern Orange area, I did so without any particular direction or set-course.
During this time, I have learned, been inspired, discovered, and in less than 1,000 words, attempted to capture the essence of a feature story.
Each of us has our own roots of thanks. This time of year, appreciation is individual and sometimes it takes a moment of awareness to appreciate and remember, and before it is too late, acknowledge.
Through this space, I normally feature people who compose the fabric of a community, locally and perhaps, globally. In recent weeks, it became clear to me that my own community, that of my family, is composed of two threads that have both inspired and served as constant demonstrations of love: my grandmothers.
My hands are snug and tucked and tight, and when there is noise beyond, my palm grips hold of my bow and the cold air tightens and I feel the exposure and am reminded of the cold.
Jason Hawkins outdoors column
I could have driven along these woods. I could have used the off-road vehicle and navigated this path. Yet, it felt appropriate to walk. It felt authentic to step over sticks. There was something natural about my gait and the melodic repetition of my feet in the soft mud.
It was one of those days that seem to only happen once in awhile, and where the day had begun in silence, was now ending with an audible infiltrate, which seemed to spread from this tree stand to the noticeably empty hills below.