It felt like a duty – a responsibility to be here on the last day of the season. To finish what I started.
Repetitions earlier in the fall allowed me to hone my routine so that I knew what to expect. Where to park the truck. What to include in my day pack. Where the deer would come from, if they came. How the wind would rock the tree.
Bushes that mimic deer shapes in the primordial ooze of pre-dawn caused my pulse to race on opening day; but no longer. I know them for what they are.
A sentinel. Silent. Watching. Taut. Anticipating the spreading rays of dawn and the game that it may bring. Dreading the western slide of the sun which signal not only the end of the day, but the end of my first season with a bow.
Two does approach my stand and tease me. I draw my bow once; twice; three times in anticipation of them stepping into the clearing. My muscles quiver holding the bow at full draw. Their eyes are on me but they do not see me. Trees block their vitals, and I let the arrow down. They prance away sensing something, but not spooked. We will dance no more this year.
My mood is solemn as I descend the tree. Alone I trudge to where the truck awaits. Opening day is seven long months away.