Friday, February 8, 2008
I was leaving the house on-time-for-work, but last-minute-not-quite-time-to-stop-for-a-coffee-time. But I WOULD stop anyway.
Admiring the frosting of snow on the branches and fences, I drove, past a cornfield in its winter mode: stubble poking up through the dusting of snow.
I looked for my geese; they touch down daily in this field. There they were.
But something was wrong. Three men walked among them. And a dog. My geese remained relaxed, calm, docile. Beyond docile. They were statue-like. Motionless.
Dead? No, some were standing.
I had my camera, and impulsively-- on time for work, be damned-- I pulled over and walked across the field toward the men. I could see the men were picking up my geese and moving them.
Something was wrong. The geese seemed stunned, or drugged. It was an eerie scene from a distance.
"Hello," one of the men walked toward me, raising his voice to be heard. "Can I help you?"
"I write for a paper," I shouted back. "What's going on?" I no longer write for the paper, but if there was a field of dead geese I would come up with something.
"We're hunters," he said. "We're setting up. In a minute you're going to see a whole lot of geese coming in."
I blinked at the surreal setting. A field full of decoy geese; some standing, some like brooding hens. A waggy-tailed dog snuffling among them. Three men. And me, camera hanging around my neck.
"Oh, hunters, " I said." Are you far enough from the houses to hunt here?"
He said they were.
My geese would be coming in soon, fooled by a false flock. I wanted to stand and wave my arms in warning. Or just sit amidst the decoys in the muddy stubble. Would the men drag me off? Point their guns at me? Call the cops?
I had to get to work. I'd be late now for sure, but I'd still stop for coffee.
“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter” ~African Proverb