In religious terms, an epiphany is a sudden awareness of the eternal; in secular terms it is the grasp of something singularly striking. Either way, the experience is indeed rare . . . and perhaps even life-changing.
Once, when my youngest daughter Leah was seeking a subject to make a short documentary film – for an important senior high class project, she asked me if I had any suggestions. “Hmmm . . . well, Saturday I’m hiking into my secret place by the beaver pond to go duck hunting. The weather is supposed to be clear and sunny and the fall colors are peaking. You’re welcome to join me.”
Saturday arrived with weather as promised. After a short drive, we trekked through a farm field, past the big woods and descended the great hill next to the swamp. Leah followed as I picked my way on an old Indian trail (I once found a stone point arrowhead there). We reached the creek and I carried her across. Then I headed toward the “three sisters”, a distinctive clump of birch trees that marked the access trail onto the island. We continued, going up, over and through the oak and maple trees. On the far side of the island, after passing through a wild berry field, we continued down to the beaver pond. I dropped my Duluth back-pack and shotgun, and retrieved a few decoys from the pack, tossing them out onto the beaver pond. Leah and I sat on a carpet of long grass next to a walnut tree. The ripples from the decoys subsided and the pond became a mirror . . . capturing the reds, oranges and yellows of the hardwoods on the far side.
Wood ducks, teal and mallards began to funnel into the lake on the other side of the island. I began to call them, first whistling at the woodies, then “talking” to the mallards. It wasn’t long before two male wood ducks responded, jetting into the beaver pond. I shot straight and true, retrieving the magnificent ducks. I laid them out on the flowing grass of the creek bank. Leah’s entire film only lasted eight minutes, but she captured it all . . . the perfection of fall, her Dad in his secret place – the old hunter in his element doing those things learned from his youth. She caught the sounds of the duck calls, the whisper of the incoming waterfowl . . . the perfect harmony of the place.
Leah will never again be a high school senior, I may never hunt at the beaver pond and that perfect fall day lives only in memory. A father and daughter shared this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience as a singular point in time. It’s all there on film . . . an epiphany.
Fall energy tip: Consider entering into a pre-paid contract with your delivered heating fuel provider. You can lock in the price for a set number of gallons (we just did for several hundred gallons), and save yourself big bucks on this winter’s heating fuel bills. You can shop around at different fuel providers, and take the best price.
September 2017 Blog
By: Stephen Bjorklund