DAY LIGHT IN THE SWAMP my grandmother used to yell that up the stairs at me to tell me it was time to wake up when I would visit her back when I was young. For some reason sitting on the stand Sunday morning as I watched the sun rise in the swamp I thought of her and her morning wake up call. Sitting in a deer stand gives you lots of time to bring up old memories and to solve the world’s problems. Sunday morning in the stand it felt warm and as the day went on it did get warm, sixty-two was reported by one of the guys checking the thermometer at the Hotel. I spent the morning on the swamp stand, my usual place. I watched as the sliver of a moon was chased by the morning sun and the gray of the swamp turned red from first light.
Shadows became trees and brush piles and tall brown grass stopped being deer. I could hear the cawing of a distant crow and the fluttering of sparrows just passing through. Just after full light a gun shot rang out, not from my side of the swamp but from the other side. One shot, a clean miss or a clean kill, I sat in the stand and wondered which and I strained a little listening for a following shot, nothing. I turned a little on the bench seat so I could face the trail that leads into and out of the swamp, Maybe it was a miss and as I watched the trail I could imagine a buck creeping down it from the far side of the swamp to my side. After a half an hour I figured it, the deer was taking its sweet time coming or it was not coming at all.
Around ten or so I made the slow walk back to the Hotel, I moved slow as I was over dressed for the warming day. Half of the guys were already back and the inside of the Hotel was littered with orange hunting coats and sweatshirts. Hats and gloves and laughter. Coffee pot was resting on the black potbelly stove and it was warm inside the Hotel. Already some of the guys had moved chairs outside and the rocking chair on the porch was already occupied by Elmer. Big Earl was making flapjacks as the second breakfast was being served. The night before we had our steak dinner and guys this morning were still full as they went out to the stands. No one had seen a buck, a couple of does were seen but they are off limits this season. Two grouse had buzzed Chuck’s stand, he descried the experience like being in the tower in Top Gun and having Maverick do a fly by. Never saw the birds till they were right on him.
The plan was to gather and watch the football game on the old black and white TV but I went back out to the stand to sit. I shed the long underwear and by kickoff I was back in the stand enjoying the warm southern breeze and listening to the football game. I had brought the little transistor radio from home and had an ear plug stuck in one ear, the other one I had cut off. Gave me the football game and let me listen to what was going on around me. I was not really expecting to see a deer but have learned a long time ago that deer like fish are not always where they are supposed to be. To prove my point I spotted four gray squirrels leapfrogging across the ground. When I first heard them in the leaves I thought I had a herd of deer heading in my direction and I didn’t move. I watched with my eyes and I waiting for the sound of the crunching leaves behind me to get out in front of me. Pretty hard to do when someone scores a go ahead touch down in your ear. Don’t see gray squirrels here very often and four of them at one time had me thinking they were a family just passing through. Things got quiet after they moved on and I sat in the sunshine wondering to myself why I don’t just sit in a tree more often here at Lake Iwanttobethere
( Nephew is heading back to town so he is going to drop this off for the wife to post, maybe Monday? Weather is suppose to turn cold by midweek with rain maybe snow up this ways. Welcome the snow, not to thrilled about the chance of rain )