This past weekend I worked up in Nicholas County at another mine again. Seems like this is going to be an every week thing.
That's not what I'm writing about though. Sunday morning around 8:30 I decided to sit out on the stairs to the mine office and have a cup of coffee and catch up on the book I'm reading. It was a nice morning and I decided I'd enjoy it before it got too hot.
There was still plenty of dew on things and was a lot of drops still on the handrail of the stairs I was sitting on. I was on the steps for about an hour when I noticed a fluttering out of the corner of my eye.
I slowly turned my head to the left and saw a Monarch butterfly had alighted on the railing. As I watched it unfurled it's proboscis and began drinking one of the dewdrops until it was gone. It then fluttered away as if I wasn't there.
Sometimes the small things that go unnoticed in life that mean the most. The simple act of a butterfly drinking a dewdrop filled me with wonder in this little rock we call home.
It reminded me me of a time deer hunting about fifteen years ago. I was with my best friend at his ex father-in-law's place in Potter County, Pennsylvania. It was opening day of deer season and I was in my favorite stand where I'd been successful in the past. Around noon as I was eating lunch I noticed something in the crook of a small branch in the tree.
I looked closer and saw it was a tiny hummingbird's nest left from the previous summer. It was so intricate and small. About the size of a Half-Dollar and I could imagine the care that went into it's construction. I left it were it was when I left my stand for the camp that evening knowing if I attempted to take it with me it would be destroyed and I thought if I left it there, next summer maybe another hummingbird would find it and make it home. I shouldered my rifle and started back to where I had parked my truck and half way there I was eye to eye with the biggest whitetail buck I had ever seen. It was the buck that deer hunters dream of. Two hundred fifty pounds if it was an ounce and the biggest rack of antlers I'd ever seen outside of photos in hunting magazines.
We stood there for almost a minute watching each other as my heart was about to explode from my chest. It was standing about fifty yards in front of me, giving me the perfect heart-lung shot that I knew if I made, my 30.06 would drop it were it stood. The deer then ambled off into the woods as I stood there in wonder doing nothing but watch it dissapear into the briars.
I got back to my truck, drove the logging road back to the cabin to meet with the rest of the guys. A fire was going in the stove and they guys were well on the way to being very well lubricated. Old and new stories were bandied about, but I was off somewhere else.
That was the last time I seriously hunted. Since then I had gone through the motions with my friends every year, doing the yearly male-bonding every fall after that. But I never seriously hunted after that. I never even told my best friend that every year since me finding the nest and seeing the buck I never even loaded my rifle when we went out...
Now I have the image of the Monarch to add to all those little things stored away in my memory.
And I'm glad I'm alive...
Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden