Lost In The Garage
Snow stacks up on the windowsill and in the mountains. It’s good for fish, good for grass, good for ungulates. Those are fleeting thoughts in the back of my mind. Mostly I keep my eye on the snow report at the local ski area. I take a leisurely morning to clean the garage and shovel the drive, before heading to the hill.
Although it hasn’t been used in weeks, hunting and fishing gear is scattered across the floor. With the season officially over, I clean out my upland pack. Empty shells, crumpled copies of walk-in area maps, zip ties, and Snickers wrappers come piling out. I decide to clean out the cooler. A few surprises await that would have been avoided if I was more diligent about unpacking promptly.
Fishing gear is next. Rods, mostly unused, stare at me from the shelf. I realize half the gear I meant to put away is still in the truck, which is parked at the airport while my wife is out of town. Putting away waders and boat bag, I am distracted by thoughts of a pending saltwater trip that my brother and I are contemplating. Pulling out the eight weight my minds drift to warmer climes.
Lost in the sanctuary of the garage, my eyes glance toward antlers on the wall. I decide to pull a package of elk steak from the freezer. My fingers touch butcher paper and a single drop of dried blood stares back at me. For a moment I feel as if I am back on the side of a mountain, deep in the wilderness, sweat and sleet dripping down my neck, as I help a friend butcher his quarry.