We awoke to gunfire. Nearby. Opening Day of deer-hunting-with-firearms season begins at dawn, and the sky was barely light when the first shots were fired. We made the coffee, revived the fire in the woodstove, and crawled back into bed to drink the coffee there. Through the window of a loft in a tiny cabin on a hillside, our home in rural northern Michigan, we watched the morning materialize out of the darkness. Usually a quiet time of day, it was punctured this time by sporadic gunshots. This was our first November in the little cabin, our first Opening Day here. I couldn’t say I liked the sound of it. I couldn’t say my trip to the outhouse was as carefree as the day before. As the sun rose over the trees, we saw that the brown hills were dotted, speckled, littered with hunters in Safety Orange.
It was alarming to think they had been shooting in near-darkness when so many of them were out there. Now that it was light, a deer wouldn’t stand a chance. It would be like a firing squad. And how would they even know who got to claim whatever was left?
Down by the dirt road, a buck stepped out of the trees. He stood there, surveying the scene. Then, as if to say, “No, I don’t think so,” he turned and slipped back into the woods. Despite how deer can’t see safety orange. There must have been other clues. We cheered. Not a statement about hunting, per se, just rooting for the underdog.
The sketchbook page is from that day long ago. The embroidery is one I found in an antique shop. It’s once again “firearms season,” and yesterday the thought came to me that it would be fun to give the deer his own orange vest. Which reminded me of this story.
And then, a couple of weeks later, the real thing is spotted, not far from where we live: click here.
LOVE it! I root for the underdog/deer right along with you! 🙂
The embroidery you found and the sketch depicting opening day are both powerful. Although the practitioners aren’t many, embroidery has found a new constituency and is being used in so many ways other than to add a little sumpthin decorative to a napkin’s edge. I love when the decorative arts that are linked so immovably to the home sphere are used for other purposes. When we still lived in the dome, opening day was an awful time. No place to shelter or block out the gunshot. Heigh-ho. It’s off to kill we go. Thanks for another great story.
Sarah, I am with you on the new directions for decorative arts idea. I have seen some pretty interesting examples (besides yours. of course.), including some lace with unusual imagery. My effort is pretty impulsive and a one-off, but happy to be linked to those others, anyway.
We feel your pain. We live off grid in a little valley in the Ozarks of Arkansas. We started dealing with deer season craziness before the season even started. We live in the valley full time, but many people just come here to hunt. Sometimes they don’t realize how close they are to other people when they start shooting. Sometimes they just don’t care. Modern gun season just ended for this year. We have another 270 days or so to enjoy ourselves before next season.
Wow, you have a 3-month season? that’s a long time to wear the orange vest!