Sunday, March 16, 2014

Are existential crises a first world problem?

I would assume so. At least in the way that Americans see things, because really most problems are people wishing they had more crap from China, wishing they were younger or wishing they got laid more. All of which while somewhat valid are really just people being whiny bitches.

So we're going to mix things up here for the long winter in which I will write nothing at all, for like years on end and yet not delete this thing, for some reason. I'm saying farewell to Slugger and Three Thousand Versts and saying hello to a few upland hunting blogs. The CLR and Malcolm are staying because well, they're fucking Malcolm and World by Storm. And while they don't play well in the same sandbox, they are both bad ass respectively.

I read a lot of books. Right now I'm reading about the rise and fall of the whig party in America and the Free Soil Party, good stuff all around. I also read a lot of upland literature. I certainly wish I did as much hunting of upland game birds with my dogs as I did reading about it, but que sera. I've got my Burton Spiller, George Evans, Horace Lytle, Ben Williams, Jim Fergus, the "A Rough Shooting Dog" guy whoever that is etc. That's on top of Pointing Dog Journal and the blog round up such Mallard of Discontent, Wingshot, and Uplandish among others. But really when things end or I want a good reflection on something I go back to Robert Ruark and his seminal work, The Old Man and the Boy. Maybe it's because my dad is getting older and I realize that his time is not only finite but also that his ability for outdoor pursuits is closing out at an alarming rate.

A side note here before we continue on to Mr. Ruark. Everyone wants they're dad to be the biggest, the best, the toughest etc. My son will be in for a quite a rude awakening when he realizes how mediocre I am at most things in life. I suppose we're all born to kill our heroes but still, never a fun reality, especially for the hero who needs killing. But my dad really was pretty spectacular. I'm not talking about kill shots at three hundred yards as if it were 50, not that uncommon. But his ability to knock down roosters at fifty yards with his full choke 30" barrel annoyed a companion so much that he said something to which dad replied that he would indeed shoot the next pheasant within twenty yards, but that it would count against the complaintant's limit not his. When the next birds were jumped he summarily dispatched the bird in a puff of feathers and held up what remained. As it was late season hunting he had his loads with 11/4 ounces of powder and number six shot. Between that and the fixed full choke what he handed for his partner's game bag was little more than wings and legs. When hunting doves he would have to offset his shot, which still flabbergasts me. He would draw a bead on the bird and then offset so as not to destroy the poor bird when he shot it. This doesn't even get into his waterfowling adventures which were his passion, but since I'm an uplander, not a waterfowler I'll save those for another day. Though as he noted to me he was also shooting 200-300 clays a week and reloading all of his shells in those days of heady freedom before kids came along. How he and my mom ever actually got married is still beyond because when we got caught butchering my deer in her kitchen a couple of years ago you would have thought we had been caught dismantling a human cadaver. Footnote on that sidenote, coming off of butchering this year's doe in the garage I discovered a sure fire way avoid talking about Jesus and my relationship with him. Apparently I am either already squared up with the good lord or damned to the eternal fires of Perdition as the soliciting evangelicals who canvassed the entire neighborhood gave my parent's house a wide berth. It made me laugh.

Ah yes, but to Mr. Ruark since the hunting season for birds is now over and the summer fishing lies ahead (I wish that either of those two moved me with the passion that the thought of it does, but real life does temper the enthusiasm just a bit), a thought from Mr. Ruark put a lot of it into perspective. I am not now, nor will I ever be a true fishing guy. My dad tried to teach me to fly fish and it never took, I am far more concerned about my mortgage(or shall I rephrase that better that I am simply not cut out for the zen of fly fishing) than tying flies but the endearing memories of my old man tying flies out of his old black suit case while smoking his Peterson pipe is quite the memory for me, but back to that quote,

"What I want you to do is set there and fish, and when the fish ain't bitin' I want you to listen and look and think. Think about heaven and hell and just how long is the hereafter. Look around you and don't take nothing for granted. Look at everything you see and listen to everything you hear, just like you were brand-new come from another world, and think about all those things and how they got there. Now let's fish."

That is sound advice for anytime spent outdoors.

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