Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Late November brings the closing of two seasons

| December 19, 2021 12:00 AM

It’s a seasonal rite of passage for me to lift my road bike onto my shoulder and carry it down the steps to the basement where it will wait out the winter.

Most of the year, it leans against the shelving in the mudroom just a few feet from the door, ready to roll. It’s not really in the way, but it does take up space and, as everyone knows, mudroom space is a coveted commodity in any home.

But I was happy I squeezed in one last end-of-season ride the last Saturday in November, the same day we were making Thanksgiving dinner since our son and his girlfriend had spent the actual holiday with her family. That morning, after my husband and I prepped all the side dishes, stuffed the turkey with gusto and tossed it in the oven, I dashed out the door directly for a much anticipated afternoon bike ride — but not before banging my head on the bottom of the opened refrigerator door as I stood up after cleaning up a mess on the floor. My only words, after I got over the horrible sound of my head hitting something that hard — and after I dried my tears — was “I hope I can still go for a bike ride!” And I did. Turned out it sounded worse than it was.

It felt great to be spinning down the bike path again, especially considering most of my November weekends I’d been out hunting with my husband. We spent a lot of time in the woods trying to be still and quiet. Sitting on stumps staring silently through the trees. Talking in whispers while hiking up steep hills. Avoiding blowing our noses.

Most everything about hunting is quiet — except if the hunter shoots, of course. The only other noise permitted is the occasional rattle of the deer antlers. My husband has an old pair of antlers tethered together by a rawhide lace and it’s usually my job to clack them together impersonating two bucks clashing in the woods in the hope of attracting another buck who thinks there must be does nearby.

This year I didn’t fool anybody. But I did give myself a “sixth knuckle” after I rammed my forefinger with the antler while knocking them together. And, even then, not a sound came out of my mouth. My eyes watered. I grimaced and bit my lip hard. My husband was sympathetic and gently tried to show me a safer way to rattle to protect my hands. I slowly mouthed these words back to him … “I am in pain.” We both laughed hysterically, but silently.

We made some great memories hunting together this fall despite ending this hunting season empty-handed.

Still, the long hours of total silence, broken only by the whoosh of the wind through the trees and our own breathing, quieted my mind and gave me a much needed respite from the typical day-to-day pace and holiday hubbub. As Robert Frost wrote, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep.” Or, as Charlie Chaplin once said, “The voice is very beautiful, but it is not as great as the silence.”

Community editor Carol Marino may be reached at 406-758-4440 or community@dailyinterlake.com.

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