Have you ever experienced the sensation of being in the flow of things, in tune with life, in perfect harmony with the state of affairs? For many who revere the fall season, it may be possible to attain such a blissful state.
Check out the essential components . . . it is the heart of the harvest season, all of man’s planning; hard work and stewardship are coming to fruition. One memorable summer season gives way for the imminent bounty of fall. The birds, animals and trees are more animated – they too have a heightened sense of urgency for the harvest. Everything intensifies – the colors, the multitudinous gathering of the migrating birds. The approaching winter season plays out in the narrative of all that lives – it’s the mating season for many, including whitetail deer. It’s time to stockpile without delay for a variety of animals from beavers to field mice, and yes, for men. And inside the spirit of man, whether you be a nature lover or outdoorsman and hunter . . . fall quickens.
Let’s go and see. There is nothing like floating in a small boat and watching the gathering of countless migrating ducks. You see the flock of bluebills dropping out of the Northern sky, wings cupped, heading for your decoys. Your hunting dog sees them too and his gaze becomes fixed on the approaching birds. He does a side-glance at you to make certain you see them as well. You nod to your dog and he once again locks onto the ducks. The bluebills make a precautionary fly-by, ripping the air as their wings slice into your consciousness . . . a forty mile per hour blur just inches above your decoys. Your dog is shaking. You whisper one word, “Steady”. After three more passes, the leader of the flock decides it is safe. They commit and come in. Three quick shots and your dog goes to work. He flies (did you know dogs could fly?) out of the duck-boat, landing ten feet away in a spray of icy water. He spots the downed bluebills and swims without delay. He picks up the first, then the second and returns to the side of the boat. He delivers them to your hand, then immediately goes for the third duck, which is swimming away from the decoys. He catches up to the bluebill but it dives underwater, out of reach. This is repeated with a marathon chase three times. Finally, the dog closes in and when the duck dives under, he does to, disappearing for nearly a minute. The water explodes as the duck and the dog rocket out of the frigid water . . . duck firmly lodged in your retriever’s mouth. He makes his way back to your boat, making you proud. You pull him aboard as he bountifully shares the 40 degree water. “Good boy.”
Shooting ducks is bittersweet. You study them, in the bottom of your boat, and you consider that they are perfect in form and color. When they arrived this day they became an aerial display more like a song than a flight. They rose and fell in concert, holding their relative position as a member of their flock. You could feel their movement, just as the roll of the waves underfoot and the tapping of the reeds on your shoulder. I wonder if all this is recorded in the book of life . . . only the Creator knows. The spent shotgun shells bob in the waves, rising and falling, tapping out a cadence on the wooden hull of your boat. The entire experience becomes riveting. The concentration exhibited by your dog as the bluebills approached was perfect. No creature on earth, man or beast, could best the intensity of your dog. October, you, your retriever and the hunt move into the perfect flow.
Fall energy tips: Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees during the day or when you are home, and at night or when you are away, turn it down to 65 degrees or less. Change the furnace filter at least once per month, and if you have not had your furnace cleaned and tuned for two years, do so. These simple measures can save you up to twenty-five percent on your yearly heating bill. Also, use ceiling fans to blow the heat down from the ceiling (heat rises) and you will mix the hot air better, requiring less heat to stay comfortable. Check out all of the energy saving programs and initiatives at Tri-CAP. If you are income eligible, there may be good news for you. Check us out and get in tune and in the flow of the season.
Tri-CAP blog for October
By: Stephen Bjorklund