As the 2007 hunting season approaches, I thought Id share a column I wrote five years ago just after my Uncle Ed died. Ed was the patriarch of our crew. It was his love of the woods and his respect for the animals that ultimately kindled my own affection of the same.
I found myself telling the story that appears in the column below to a buddy of mine during a bird hunt last weekend and realized that a half decade had vanished since Eds death.
Native Americans believe that a persons spirit lives on in the people they loved in this life. Anyone who doubts that never had the privilege of spending time with my Uncle Ed.
Reprinted from November 2002
When I was eighteen, I got hopelessly lost several miles off the Blue Ridge Road, somewhere between North Hudson and Keene with Mount Marcy in between.
The snow was coming down so hard that it seemed to fill my boot tracks as quickly as I could make new ones.
Next stop, Lake Placid, I thought, as the final moments of twilight slowly faded.
It was to be the only night Id ever spend lost in the woods.
Or, I should say, most of the night.
Finally giving in to my predicament, I piled enough wood to keep a healthy fire burning for at least a week and settled down on some spruce boughs, my grandfathers Winchester 30-30 straddling my lap.
Needless to say, I didnt sleep much that evening, if at all.
So you can imagine my alarm when, after nearly ten sleepless hours huddled in the pure blackness, a dark form emerged from the brush. But the now politically incorrect glow of a cigarette soon put me at ease. Suddenly standing there, nearly five miles from the nearest road, stood my Uncle Ed.