Each November, I leave the office for a week of deer hunting in the mountains of Nova Scotia. Yes that’s almost a contradiction, but there are some small ones… not so small when you have to walk miles and miles through the sometimes heavy brush, getting whipped in the face with snowy branches, then once you’re all sweaty, sit on the cold wet ground for a couple of hours and try to maintain full alert status.
It’s a bit of a strange break from the digital world I live in, and the virtual life you all know me from. It’s called Real Life, and I recommend you try it now and then. Although most items are no-copy, teleporting doesn’t work (yet), and flying and hovering is not supported. On the plus side, the physics engine in Real Life is very good, and you rarely fall through the floors (although we had a couple of mishaps on this trip). 🙂
There is no power, no running water, no heat, except what we make ourselves in a wood stove. Strangely, never any spare time to relax much, except after dark; but there are always chores even then: chopping wood after the hunt, cleaning dishes by lantern after dark, keeping the fire going 24×7, drying your clothes by the fire, and of course, fetching more beer for your buddies.
I’m back, sore, tired, but refreshed from the break from the hustle of the city.
This year, the deer were a bit scarce; they were scared away by the significant increase in predators, typically coyotes but this time it was mostly bears (black bears). In the area around our cabin, we talked with one farmer who killed 4 bears in the previous week. Another reported a mother with a bear cub, being as bold as walking into people’s yards and down the main (dirt) road near the cabin. So we had to be more careful this year, watching for the signs, not only of deer but bear too.
Strangely, even though I came upon a bear hunting partridge in a previous year, I didn’t see any this year. But we always carried a weapon when in the woods this year.
Then on my last day, I came upon this one morning as I went into the woods just before dawn: When you are going into the woods in the dark, just before dawn when you know the animals are going to be active, it’s kind of scary to see a knotty tree stump like this one, in near darkness, only by the light of a mostly full moon. Heck, it’s not very calming to catch a glimpse of that one in the daylight!
In the end, I settled down very near that tree. For the record, it was about 5 feet tall, which set my red alert alarms off the moment I caught a glimpse.
We also had a wonderful and crazy night of barbecued ribs and partying with the older local farmers — they very much enjoy getting out with The Boys –and we have 3 guitars and 4 or 5 guitar players so there is never a dull moment.
We also spent a couple of afternoons clearing the debris from a torn-down trailer home, which was a lot of hard physical labor, but well worth it to see the land clear afterwords. We’ll be building our own cabin there sometime in the future.
After spending so much time with computers, it’s a refreshing change to get back down to earth, spend time in the forests, and with farmers, and others who have never heard of Google or Microsoft.
We did get a deer… Five days of hunting and hard work, six nights of beer, beans and card games.
I didn’t bring my laptop. 🙂
And finally, I will leave you with the sunrise that greeted me each day as I walked down the road, then veered off into the woods and up the mountainside: