The time of the hunt is a sacred time, a long moment to join and blend with the land when done wisely and well. And I wish others could have shared this evening’s journey through the woodlands with me. I played chase with several deer, but at the last moment and yet 200 hundred yards off, luck veered them south. Alas, another time . . .
And at the very end of twilight I began the hike back to the cottage. Walking along a brook which concealed the noise of my passage, I came silently right up to a barred owl. When it realized how close I had gotten, it nearly fell out of the tree in its haste to abandon it’s roost in a birch where it had been hunting, then it circled back as if to eye me for some later payback. Not one minute later, a striped skunk came loping out of the hedge about 25 yards ahead. The skunks in the Hollow are an amazing breed of the typical striped skunk–they are very long haired and their coloration is like a skunk in negative, being predominantly white with narrow bands of black. They are also smaller and carry less scent than the skunks I am familiar with from the Deep South. But this fellow stopped a dozen yards in front of me, did a double take, and you could hear his thoughts: *Oh, hell! There’s a people! A people almost right on top of me!” But then it did the last thing I would have expected; it raised it’s tail and came running straight at me, which led to a bit of a comical chase, a 200 lb armed man dashing away from a tiny, furry animal that does not look too different in the near-dark from an especially furry white kitten. Then–when the skunk seemed satisfied I had no interest in it–it went upon its merry way, which was good because at that point I was considering some retaliation (I am not smelling like a skunk for the next week).
I came home to discover one of the buck goats decided to break out of his stall and try to mate with a retired doe, but that had been stopped. I think I need to find a new home for that goat, and then discovered Daphne had made a wonderful curry stew of chicken, potatoes, kolhrabi and some other odds and ends from our gardens and a dessert of apple pie made from apples plucked from the tree just beyond the kitchen door (I love my lady!). A perfectly splendid day, and more to come in the coming weeks as the season of the hunt continues and overlaps wild and domestic harvest.
I remain beyond a doubt certain that everything one needs for a joyous life can be found simply living well with love in the heart of Nature.