Connection, wonder — What more does one need?

Courtesy photo
August geese add so much to this wonder-filled, wonderful world.

August reluctantly releases her grip of the hottest days of summer, and once a week, a brief wisp of a breeze squeezes into the bedroom window at night, blowing sweet cool northern air from Canada. The sunsets are earlier each day, and as shadows grow from the tree lines into the field edges, deer tiptoe into the moistening grasses.

A doe gracefully turns her head back toward the shelter of the woods behind her, signaling to her adolescent progeny, who has just recently lost his spots and is now carrying a strange velvety crown between his twitching ears. The doe looks back and signals the young buck that it is safe to step out into the field of succulent greens.

In the distance the sound of Canada geese is calling to the flock to join them in the evening feed before the sun sets over the mountains in a fiery display of beauty. The flock slides over the top of the trees to the west, circles once, seeking the high point of the field for its safety, and with one low guttural cluck, the lead bird drops his feet and cups his muscular wings in an arch to begin his descent. The flock follows the lead bird and, as if in perfectly choreographed grace, sets their wings and drops their large black-booted feet. As they hover above the green field, their majestic wings backpedal powerfully until the last pinion strains against the light breeze, touching down as if they owned both earth and sky.

In the tree line behind the doe and young buck a scolding “chip-chip-chip” pierces the quiet. A gray squirrel makes a dramatic leap from a scrawny branch to the deep-ridged bark of a large oak. He looks down at the field of geese and deer and announces dinner time to anyone who will listen.

As the sun sets and shadows grow long, the sweet sound of singing cicadas creates a symphony of buzzing harmony not unlike a Tibetan singing bowl lulling me into a transcendental state. From up on the ridge to the south, a pileated woodpecker calls and, as if it were expected, a turkey shock gobbles from its roost in a pine tree.

I am surrounded by life. I am immersed in a world that, if I am quiet and aware, embraces me as one who belongs here.

A chill begins to rise from the cooling earth. Dew begins to settle on the grass, the last reflection of the setting sun shining its golden light through the tiny water drops on the top of the blades.

Suddenly, all attention is focused on the far end of the field. Sentry geese stretch their dark black heads to focus on movement. The doe and young buck lift their heads and breathe in deeply, snorting at the air currents. Everyone is looking attentively at the distant edge. And that is when he steps out of the hedgerow.

The first thing we see is a massive set of bone structured symmetrically above his head, tines reaching 10 inches above his square head, wrapping around in a large semi-circle. Such a crown is worn only by kings. As his broad shoulders thrust through the brush, he stamps his right hoof powerfully and snorts, acknowledging his court for their fealty. The geese, doe and young buck bow their heads. The woodpecker sounds off again in recognition of his majesty. The turkey sounds off his regal thundering gobble and, for one brief moment, the cicadas stop their song in reverence.

The sky begins to show its dying colors of dark purple and sage green hanging over the mountains to the west blanketing us all in darkness. The geese get up noisily and fly toward the waning light, guiding them back to the bay. After the honking fades in the distance, the silence is all that remains. It is the sound of connection. Connection to all that matters. Here. Now. Wonder. What more does one need?

(Bradley Carleton is executive director of Sacred Hunter, a privately owned limited liability corporation that seeks to educate the public on the spiritual connection of man to nature through hunting, fishing, and foraging.)