Meat run

“Has Matthew not discovered the meat trough at the Piggly Wiggly?” asked my Father-in-law.

His question, shrugged off with an appreciative laugh in the early season, felt far less rhetorical weeks later when the alarm clock wailed, once again, at 4 a.m. The predawn cold, I knew from repetition, would demand its own answers shortly. The steep climb would do some asking too. Do you really need to be doing this?

There are easier ways to fill the freezer. Cheaper ways too. And though I’m fond of saying “We rely on the meat,” it’s a luxury of circumstance that I even get to think that way. In truth, we’d be just fine without the annual elk. The frozen toes aren’t strictly necessary. Nor the time away from family or the backlog of shelved obligations.

Easier ways indeed, and they multiply in the mind with each quad-scorching uphill step and each gust of wind-borne snow.

Easier ways. No doubt about it.

Of course, easy and worthwhile are different species. Thankfully they keep selling me tags for the latter.

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