Friday, October 5, 2012

Ode to Autumn

It surely seems implausible how anyone could dislike autumn, least of all sportsmen and sportswomen.

The air is crisper with the lethargic-inducing summer tide of muggy weather receding into the recesses of memory.

Ahead, of course, is the seasonal speed bump called winter, or a serious chuckhole for many folk.

Lost will be the eye candy of leaf color, and the intoxicating aroma of ripened grapes as you drive along Doty Road in Madison and Geneva townships with your car windows rolled down.

For now it is simply a requirement to sit back and enjoy the richness of autumn. And that’s something I’ve been working on the past week or so, ever since Ohio’s archery deer-hunting season began.

Actually, even before that shotgun start to autumn. Though the early Canada goose-only hunting season and the beginning of the dove-hunting season were both warm, a still tad sticky with nearly every tree and bush a lush green I fought to find the starting end of autumn’s thread.

I did, too, more or less.

Of course now it’s more of more than less of less.

Thursday, while hunkering in the coziness of the hub-style ground blind, I took note of the woodlot’s treasury: refined in a superb yellow-gold. The sunlight was boring through the changing leaf structure and stamping the earth beneath with a rich signature of color.

Yes, cool fingers scratched their way through the blind’s fabric, forcing me to zip my black-colored sweatshirt as high as it would go, but the chill was a momentary snapshot of what to expect within a few more weeks. And nothing more.

Some forest birds rustled about, too, making their way from one bush to another and then from one low-hanging tree branch to another.

Migrants, no doubt, shopping for a morsel of food before again hitting the freeway to their winter homes somewhere further south.

Several squirrels worried themselves into a frazzle as well, hunting down recently fallen acorns.

These squirrels then set about calculating where best to sequester their load. Much of this deposit will become lost to their owners, anyway, though the woodlot will claim finders-keepers and set about helping to regenerate itself next spring with newly born oak saplings.

Off in the distance, maybe a quarter-mile away from a beaver pond that had successfully held off this summer’s drought, rose a cacophony of goose talk. Likely nothing more than family chatter as to where best have breakfast.

From a nearby residence came the lustful bragging of a rooster chicken. No wonder that the property’s woodlot edge often becomes the perch for red-tail and Cooper’s hawks.

The prideful cock-sure boasting of the rooster is an open invitation of becoming a hawk’s meal.

It’s happened before, the property owner has said.

A trail camera that was set up to observe an electronic game feeder recently spied how a doe and her twin fawns were regular guests. The most recent digital shots tattle-tailed that the family had visited the bait station between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

So I sat in the blind, joined by my father-in-law, the two of us waiting for the deer to appear.

We stuck it out until noon, realizing after five hours that the deer were a no-show.

Perhaps they lingered longer than usual in their beds or maybe the trio found another lode of protein- and fat-rich mast to feast on instead of looking to the carbohydrate-stacked shelled corn.

Still, I hardly consider the hours that passed as being worthless.

Not when the sun lingers a spell and drops shafts of light through the canopy of trees decked out in their annual finery.

Yes, sir, I’ll take autumn any time, even when the deer don’t cooperate.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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