You learn a lot about your neighbors when…..

…..You sit quietly in the woods next to their house. Let me explain.

One of the reasons why I love the fall is because I hunt. When I was in grad school in Michigan I started to hunt. Since I don’t like to do things the “easy” way, I started bow hunting. Bow hunting just seamed to fit me. It’s quieter. It’s somehow more “in tune” than hunting with a gun, which has always felt more like going to war than going out to take part in the natural world to me. And for some reason, I shoot a bow much much better than I shoot a gun. I’ve never minded it was harder. I have never minded when I didn’t get a deer with my bow that I could have gotten with a gun.

One of the expected unexpected consequences of being on sabbatical this fall was that I missed most of the hunting season in NY. Lot’s of my friends asked if I was taking my bow with me to Michigan. But living in on campus housing made that choice a clear no. (Also traveling through Canada to get to Michigan would have been much much more complicated.)

I got home at the very tail end of the hunting season in NY. It’s not usually a great time to be out in the woods. The human warriors have made the living things in the woods very nervous. Being immersed in natural tension is way more tense. So I was on the fence about going hunting this year. But there were two things that pushed me into going out. Bailey asked for a very specific birthday dinner that requires venison. Well you cannot disappoint your first born! Truthfully it is one of my favorite dishes too. The other thing was I really wanted to spend a little time alone in the woods. It’s not all bad to just sit in the woods and not see anything. So I figured it was a win either way.

OK. So what does this have to do with me neighbor? My favorite hunting spot is across the creek in my neighbors woods.  It’s a perfect little spot because it is on a travel way that necks down into a narrow area. Usually you see deer and because of the topography there is a good chance they will come close.

Yesterday afternoon I sat out in my spot. We had about 8 inches of snow. It was a perfect evening to be out sitting in the woods. About an hour after I got into place I heard my neighbor and his son. I learned that they are very loud. Very VERY loud. And when you are hoping that the local wild population, which has been chased by humans for about 6 weeks, will feel a little bit OK to be out and about this is not a good thing.

But here is the thing. All the noise they were making? Well they were playing. Enjoying the snow and each other. It made me smile. I didn’t mind.

Neither did the deer. I saw a bunch. They never passed by my area in the funnel. And really, I didn’t mind.




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