I have meant to write this post for a while now. I have all sorts of excuses why I have not done it, but the truth is I think I have been a bit nervous about sharing my story. Do you ever feel like you are stuck between two parallel worlds?
One world where life flows over smooth ebony river rocks. One where the light shines on this pure and crystal water creating the most beautiful bouquets of structures and excitement. One where all you have to do is brush the wild fern patch to the side and scoop your hands under its out-spout to drink this water of life. This purity is your essence and your drive.
The other world is a bit more complicated. It’s like being lost in the woods, your arrow on your compass was damaged when you tumbled down the rock-scree. You are not fatally injured…just hurt. You can’t find your way out because the trees are all just above eye-line, the creeks have run dry and the mountains are just beyond your reach. Your senses have been dulled, you can’t find that alder avalanche chute to follow down, you circle and circle and finally settle in to survive. Surviving is what we are bred to do. It is innate in our human structure. But surviving is not living and you know you need to make it out of these woods, you need to find that creek that leads to this river of life, so you can drink its pure water. You keep telling yourself when you feel strong again, you will get up and go to that river…just one more day of rest.
I went antelope hunting with Patrick recently. This seems to be quite a year of discovery and newness for me. It was my first big game hunt. It was my first time killing an animal with a modern fire arm. It was the first time I have felt the way I did that day.
My favorite part of the hunt was the stalk. Have you every stalked a wild creature in its own habitat? There is something so raw and earthly about it. I had multiple unsuccessful stalks in terms of the kill, but every time I got close to those wild speed-runners, I felt closer to the wild side of earth. I would quietly hop out of the VW, sling my rifle across my shoulder, tighten the strap and quietly run through the sage, one gallop at a time, creating little loam clouds with every step until I would reach a high spot where I could peer down onto the antelope herd. Mostly they would be grazing. Simply eating sage, one toothless nibble at a time (they do not have top teeth, only a few little bottom teeth), nourishing their bodies with high desert shrub-step vegetation. I would quietly scoot down, take my rifle off and set it on the ridge line to take a closer look. That one has horns, that one has small black marks on his cheeks and this one is beautifully sandy colored with white highlights accentuating her feminine beauty, that’s her I would whisper calmly to myself. I would try to breathe easy, line up my cross hairs just beside the curvature of their upper shoulder. And then, they would sense me. They have the most graceful run you could imagine. They are fast and truly beautiful.
I earned my antelope, as I felt I should. I worked hard for the meat we will nourish our bodies with this winter. We will be grateful for every bite of high-desert sage fed meat we will share with family and friends. This is a new connection for me. Something extraordinarily primal and real. Something strong and peaceful. I feel lucky to have been included, and proud to have honored life and respected death.
Patrick and I are getting ready to embark on a new adventure. We will be leaving our little mountain cabin for a straw bale home on the Snake River in Idaho. We will live simply and fully this winter. We will hunt and create and share our love freely. This water of life is so close now, I feel my parallel shifting, I will drink this water and let its pureness pulse through my veins. I know I will get lost in the woods again, but the beauty of it is that I desire to explore and I love to walk!
Walk on all you crazy diamonds, walk on and explore new woods, new mountains and new rivers.