When you grow up in the woods of western Washington a person truly gets spoiled. There is truly no greater beauty then a patch of Western Red Cedar or Douglas Fir raising above the trail, the chill of the cool mountain air in the morning, the droplet of dew in the center of the Alpine Lupine, and the pounding hoofs of a spooked buck. The call of the wild is heard everyday; however in the middle of an irrigated desert the call doesn’t seem as loud. But it does call….
The wild, it calls to a man, “come and see what you are made of”, in a taunting tone to test guts and will. We long for the call deep down, in places sometimes forgotten but when it is heard it can not be ignored. In response to the call the preparation will begin; men will gather in tents, cabins, trailers and lodges. Prepare stew, chicken and dumplings, tortea soup, and home made bread to fill the physical hunger which will come as a consequence of the call of the wild. The gear will be lined up in the living room and kitchen table with a special attention paid to the rifle and knife reserved for this rite of passage. The wild it is calling…the cold frost covered morning when you rise just before day break. A bowl of oatmeal to warm your stomach is unmatched for taste as you grab your rifle and head to the door. The special uneasy feeling of anticipation and buck fever rushing through your veins pausing only when an early rising doe crosses the road ahead, even now my heart beat pounds hard. The pausing at every sound in the brush – could it be – no just a squirrel – yes it is – the incomparable feeling of pulling up the rifle with a legal buck in view then only having it catch your scent and run off – a fair hunt indeed.
Success or failure, hunting camp is full of tired laughs and old friends reminding each other why we continue to return. Stories of missed opportunities or precision aim shared among sons, dads, friends and brothers. An unmatched tradition started by the call of wild…
I miss the woods – my hands on my 30-06 hand carved by my grandfather when he was discharged from WWII – the cold frost mornings – the meals around hunting camp – and the skip of my heartbeat when you see the first buck of the season. Success or failure the wild is calling and I must heed its call…to feel alive…to connect with my roots…to share the stories that will live forever…for my boys.