Ravens' Hymnal

For the first time in a while, some deer walked near my stand when I was actually there. Seeing them was like a celebrity sighting. Somehow, we closed the gap between our distances in everyday life and I was close enough for a look. I never saw their bodies in-full all at once. But a few windows through the branches offered good views as they walked through. Little did they know I was there. Two does, nice size with healthy hides. If they were bucks, they wouldn’t have been legal. There was too much brush between us for shooting.
 
The snow keeps no secrets. It seemed in a gossipy mood this season and helped me determine where the deer had been traveling when I wasn’t around. All the better for adjustments next year. As suspected, one of my stands is in a good spot, maybe too good, just 10 yards off one of the deer trails. Thinking I might recede it into the woods a little more.
 
Throughout the day, snow caked on pine boughs began losing its grip. It slid off in big dusty puffs that never quite hit the ground but floated adrift on the wind.
 
The snow also told me I’m not alone. I use to have this public land all to myself, but other hunters have begun coming by. Ever since the logging a few years ago, the area has become more popular.
 
By late afternoon, sunlight backlit the trees, making hundreds of twig formations all over the forest look like crystal webs tinted with orange.
 
I heard the change of seasons. Ice was morphing from its early-season skin and setting up more deeply on the nearby lake. The first sound of it was so loud it snapped my head in its direction. Then it happened again in the same place. Eventually grunts and pops came from everywhere, pin-balling across the lake. I tried to mimic its sound vocally. But I can’t remember it now and stand no chance of spelling it. Hollow or throaty, yet not quite a “gwump.” It ended with a lilt or uptick, maybe a “hush.”
 
As a kid, I never sang out loud when I was in church and I’m not any different in this church. So, I’ll let the ravens cover the vocalizations; they can imitate anything. I’ll bet it’s already in their hymnal.

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