It’s been a good year. The cold damp soaking my thighs and the tang of wet sage are evidence. Water is life wherever you go, but the connection is hard to miss on the high desert prairie. The whole palette brightens and shifts toward green. In July, much of Wyoming looked like Ireland. Now, in late September, you can see fat on the pronghorn from 150 yards.
I’ve always disliked the term “harvest” to describe the taking of a game animal. Vegetables are harvested. Animals we kill. I think it’s important not to deceive ourselves on that score, even with a well intentioned euphemism.
But with my belly in the dirt, and a healthy buck steady in the crosshairs, the parallels are hard to miss. No matter our personal preferences, or our individual attitudes toward responsibility and participation, we all sit at Mother Nature’s table. No farmer can outwit the climate. No hunter can grow a herd. She’s been generous this year, and soon I will reap the benefit.
The wind is to my face, yet another blessing. It gives me time. Time to admire, to grow certain and to give thanks.
“I hope you’ve had a good life,” I whisper under my breath. “Now I’m going to take it. I’m sorry. Thank you.”