By Ryan Connolly
It was well before sunrise and I was high in the canopy getting seasick from too much breeze and too little tree.For once, I left the mounds of gear in the car.
The tree, bow and arrows, water and a Hershey bar would be more than enough.
The sun rose in grand fashion. The woods came alive.
The grey-squirrels made the fall leaves a slip-n-slide and were everywhere.
The birds were up and singing.
It was woodland finery on all sides.
The wind calmed and my tree stood still. I looked down the lane and she was there. A ghost. She was 100 yards up wind. I thought she’d be gone, the way she came. But she stayed. It wasn’t long until she was broadside at 25 yards where she waited.
She waited for a lifetime. She waited for the shakes and they came. For me to bump an arrow from the rest and I did. To re-knock. To study her. To wonder if I was ready. If I could. She scratched a hoof at a pesky tick. Shook her head. Flickered those big ears. She was magnificent.
I thought about my life and others that needed her for energy, inspiration and strength. She was patient and waited.
I drew back. With the hand of something better guiding me I released. She lied down. Confused but easy. The shot was good. I gave her the mercy of another arrow. It was true and she died.
I climbed down and knelt and touched her. She was a ghost again. I thanked her and the sun and the tree and all the rest. I opened her with my knife and left her insides for other lives. I carried her out and took her to Hunters Helping the Hungry. In that way she was honored. The circle of life ever closing.
I got back into the car and drove the 65 miles home to a city where the mysteries are few and the ghosts are all gone. I’ve been thinking about her most of the time since and that’s more than enough.