5:30 is an unfavorable time of the day for me. I don't intend to get accustomed to it, although when I do allow myself to crawl out of bed (and sometimes I do literally mean crawl), I am always thankful for the sights I see, the things I hear, and I'll be the first to admit that when the day breaks in Turkey Territory there is no other sound that i'd rather have fill my ears.
You see, I once was a turkey hunter. Wait - let me rephrase that... I once went hunting about twice a year to suffice the general public's shock when I answered, "No, I'm not really a turkey hunter." This is hard for people to believe because my Daddy's Daddy &My Mamma's Daddy
enjoyed were obsessed with turkey hunting, and MY Daddy & brother bleed turkey feathers. That blood clotted once it got to me, but I would go to say that I went. I hated walking around, chasing around a smart bird, trying to avoid sticks, and training myself to breathe as quiet as a mosquito in order to make as little sound as possible. I would be aggravated with myself by the end of the morning, and I would tell myself I'm never coming back.
However, this year I have had a change of heart. I don't know if i've fallen in love with the beauty of a turkey, or if I just longed to hear the echo of their gobble throughout their territory. Either way, an urge has been brewing inside of me to go with Daddy.
Now, for the many of you who have gone - I'm sure you have your own way of going about things, and my Daddy does too. I just follow him like a shadow, putting on my mask when he puts his on, placing my boot in the footprints he just made, stopping when he stops, listening when he listens, holding my breath as he holds his, you get it. I mirror his actions... or... I try.
Once we got out of the truck, I was putting
the vest I borrowed from him my gear on, and I glanced at Daddy on the driver's side of the truck. He seems to be a tad distraught with the mosquito repeller, and he seems to be in somewhat of a hurry. Daylight hasn't broken yet, so we're not technically running late, but we probably should be walking somewhere instead of fighting with a bug killer - it was 35 degrees, but he knows best, so I said nothing. It was funny for me to see him racing with himself and the sunlight. I can honestly say that I haven't ever had to beat daybreak, but sundown? That's another story for another day. Onward.... Sometimes I think he should be part of the Navajo Indian tribe. He can walk through a brush pile & never crack a stick. He can hear like an elephant with a hearing-aid in, and he's always been able to. He can see like an eagle, and he can spit out information & facts about almost anything just like a verbalized encyclopedia.
We have the funniest conversations (that I'm sure won't be as funny for you because ya kinda had to be there) while we're in the woods.
I was telling him about the rattlesnake that I stopped & let cross the road last year, and this was how the conversation went:
Daddy, "I'm sure an ole' rat family isn't too happy with you for that."
Daddy, "(in a raspy voice, talking as a rat) Well... if she had just ran over him, Mamma'd prolly still be alive.."
Yesterday, we went to listen for one in the afternoon. I saw something ahead of us in the road & asked Daddy what it was because I couldn't tell yet. (see comment about him having the vision of an eagle), he said:
"Looks like a piece of wild trash to me!"
Sure enough, it was someone's garbage they had thrown out their window. Geez.
Anyway, I was thinking of all those things as we made our way to where we would listen, and out of no where, just like someone rang an alarm to wake them up, turkeys start gobblin'. They sound like they're in a 5 gallon drum. The pitch of their call bounces off every pine tree out there. We're in Turkey Territory, and they're awake - ready to play. As I sit & wait on the next one to pipe up and play its tune, I notice the sunlight creeping in on the evergreens, just as if it wants to say hello. There's hardly no wind, which is good, and I'm too worked up to be cold from the low temperature. So we sit, they gobble, we listen & re-evaluate. We did this 4 times. None were successful, but then again they were.
All the while of walking back & forth and around in circles, it became clear to me - just as it does every time I decide to wake up before sunrise, of just how awesome God is. He not only created the plants that color the earth, but He gave them light from the sun that paints the most beautiful colors across the sky. He created the creatures of the earth that fill a once quiet patch of land with songs just as the day breaks. I consider myself lucky for every opportunity I take advantage of seeing a sunrise, sunset, or the beauty of the way that animals react around each other without knowing they're being watched by human eyes.
Although my morning didn't end with a kill, I enjoyed it, and I look forward to going back. Turkey territory is a new place for my feet to walk on, but I'm willing to allow myself to get used to the feeling of a spring morning sunrise amongst my eyes, and a bright green dewy ground under my toes.
"Waste not the smallest thing created, for grains of sand make mountains.."
- E. Knight