Friday, May 8, 2009

TREE SHADOWS



The forest hides it’s secrets well, dirt, pine needles and eons of debris litter the forest floor. Soft light filters down through the upper canopy and illuminates the lower reaches, while at the same time creating shadowed darkness in others. I stop and survey the trail ahead of me, to the untrained eye all would seem as it should be. But as a hunter I see something more, the scuff from the passing of a foot in the pine duff, the indentation of a large bodied animal in the dirt against a large white pine . Three feet up on the trunk of a fir tree soft black hair moves slightly in the wind. Telltale sign of the bears passing, bedding and moving through the forest. The bear I am certain knows something is amiss in his home, my scent and movements are alien to the natural order of the wilderness. Even with cover scent, calculated movement and vigilant observation of my surroundings at all times, my senses are at a definite disadvantage compared to my quarry. He will most likely be long gone before I have any notion of his presence in the forest, leaving nothing more than faint tracks and slight sign for me to follow here in his domain. I take a cautious step into another shadowed place and scan the forest with a hunters stare, Movement! Twenty yards ahead of me a dark form ghosts from shadow to sunlight seemingly without effort. I nock an arrow to the string and prepare for the possibility of a shot should the creator see fit to allow me the opportunity. At fifteen yards the form enters into faded sunlight and becomes an elk, a long legged cow elk with a new spring calf in tow. I drop my bow arm slowly and remain absolutely still as she and her new wispy legged offspring slip through the forest in route to the adjoining meadow, filled with new growth wildflowers and green sprouts of succulent grasses. Soon after they pass, I resume the tracking of the bear along this high lonesome timbered ridge. The bruin and I may never meet face to face on this hunt, but we have come to know one another Me knowing him through the sign he has left behind and he knowing me for what I am, An intruder in his world, a deadly predator who lurks in the shadows downwind of the trails he frequents. In many ways we are the same, predator and prey, man and bear. If by chance we meet on some weathered trail maybe my arrow will bring swift and decisive death to the bear, or possibly teeth and claw will prevail. Either way we will continue this age old dance, man and beast participating in the hunt ,both hoping for success among the tree shadows and soft light of the forest.

4 comments:

Outdoors2 said...

You describe the senses details so well, takes me there, Great writing Hawk.
~R

fishing guy said...

Hawk/Stacey: Very nice story of the encounter you had with nature. Animals do have a sixth sense to know when danger is near.

Marian Love Phillips said...

I agree with Outdoors2....you have an amazing gift for details! Love your writings Hawk! :)

Huntertrapper said...

Well done Hawk A/HO!