Every time I climb that ladder, the song verse is wafting through my mind, “Strap yourself to a tree with roots, you ain’t going nowhere.”
I don’t think Dylan was writing about bow hunting, but it’s true, once I’m up that ladder and strap myself to the tree, I ain’t going nowhere except where my eyes take me. This fall, my eyes were watching with a camera in hand, not a bow and arrow.
For several reasons, I opted to not bow hunt this fall, and the early November cold has made that decision feel warmer. But I have strapped myself to a tree a couple of times with a camera.
These woods have turned over, revealing a calmness in the bareness. Leaves on the ground, bare branches overhead, barely fragmenting the rapidly fading sunshine. I find that waiting for deer is good for the soul.
Afternoon was coming down fast as a nuthatch hurried past. It passed so close, and the woods were so quiet, I could hear the faint whoosh of wings.
Though the woods were quiet there were sounds in the distance, carrying across the bare fields. A cow bellowed, perhaps for feeding time, just before milking time. A dog barked as a car slowed on the highway, and the barks gained excitement. A car door closed, and the barks stopped, but I imagined a tail wagging.
I heard children’s voices and laughter, and then suddenly none. Is supper ready? A tractor chugged along, returning from the field with another round bale.
I saw no deer. No problem. Darkness gathered quickly, and the breeze became a hawk, no leaves to calm it. I unstrapped from the tree. I was going somewhere.
Greschner is the Rice Lake Chronotype’s sports editor.