Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 48

THE LIGHT OF
I

'D DRAGGED THE BUCK up the faint scar of a logging road
onto a narrow flat to wait for my hunting partners to swing by
with the deer cart. They won't get back in here for several hours.
I relax with a cup of coffee, admiring the buck and letting the
sights and sounds of the deep woods wash over me. The buck is
an especially handsome animal, with a rich chestnut coat that
made him stand out against the somber woods.
I run my thumb over the beading above an antler burr. These
bumps, or "pearls," as scientists call them, are indicators of nutrition quality. The deep, dense pearling on this buck suggests quality
food was available to him during antler growth.
I read the worn, bony braille as a tactile footnote in the deer's
life. I could see him in the light of the yellow Hunter's Moon,
rubbing a sapling, his neck swollen, eyes rolled showing the
white as he grates the tree, 180 pounds of geared-up attitude at
the cusp of the rut. Nature abounds with endless examples of
science meeting art.
Gray-blue cloud shadows flow across the opposite hillside of
the broad, deep hollow; slowly rising then falling with the undulating terrain, like a pod of migrating whales. It is windy up high,
but down here in the hollow all is still, peaceful. I can smell the
disrupted leaf litter and broken ferns, the black, furrowed earth
opened by dragging the deer, as well as the pungent, eviscerated
cavity of the buck.
As I look over my buck, I feel my hunter's senses shift. There
is a noted hitch in my very being, like folding the blade of a lockback knife. I become aware of the enormity, the presence of the
forest that surrounds me, of my place within it and that of the deer
I now possess. Through the death of this deer, I am reconnected
to the light of older days and to others who have hunted here.

O

NCE, I WAS ASKED to do a presentation on approaches
shared by both artists and writers. One common thread I
spoke about also relates directly to hunting.
I showed the audience a
painting in progress, where the
artist first takes a single earthy
color, an umber perhaps, and
develops light and shadow, the
tonal atmosphere upon which

48



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019

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