The blind marksmen Carey McWilliams checks in from prep time
Sounds cold for the days in the field ahead of me, but that's great. Just a pair of long johns and a thermos of coffee and I'm set. The years I was there and it was warm and nice, nothing showed, but does and fawns. Kept myself busy by writing the following. Hope you like it.
The Blind Gunslinger
to those who prefer the indoors to the outdoors, a hunter’s ritualistic going over of gear can seem like an exercise in obsessive compulsive disorder, checking and rechecking each item bound for the field to the drawl of good country keys. The vision of what the next days will bring, failure, or bagging that allusive thirty-point buck, scurries back and forth through your head like that squirrel that most certainly will be chattering insults at you again from overhead branches. Maybe, this time you might just end his critique of your hunting skills with a blast from Old Reliable?
With knees raw from the hours spent begging for assistance in bridging the gap between your disability and your goal, you make your way by land or air to your hunting camp, belly and brains groaning with the anticipation of the days ahead. Your cane finds the front stoop to the inviting aroma of burgers and sausages grilling up nicely alongside coolers filled to capacity with every adult beverage forged from the fusion of fermenting fruit, as people you haven’t seen in a year greet you with glad cries and hardy handshakes. It is as if you never left.
After gassing up for hours with rounds of tall talk and even taller glasses, sleeping bags unroll for the short night before that despised alarm clock jabs your throbbing temples in alert that the game is afoot. A quick shot of coffee and you step out into the predawn hour, the fall chill feeling like your spouse’s feet. You meet your partner and wave to cries of good luck and you hop aboard a four-wheeler to find the good old dome of last-year’s ground blind taunting you with memories of empty tags and even emptier wallets. Your stiff boots step from the vehicle onto the crackling of frosted foliage, leading beneath a roof drumming the baseline to a favorite tune by that well-known group, “Dry Grass and Leaves”.
The tractor grind of your chalet pulls away into the wind with your back soon singing its own tune, as suddenly the peace is broken by booms of distant rifle fire, sending up question marks on the success of each shot. It tells you that you are truly here on the hunt. But you don’t mind. You are here for the sheer love of not being where life is comfortable. You are in nature where every day is a chance at seeing something wonderful. Sound familiar? It is to anyone who has ever been into the field. And for a blind hunter, it is even more familiar.