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      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

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Bobby Bass

A Winters Walk

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A Winters Walk,

A few weeks out from Christmas and a few weeks after deer season finds the woods quiet again. Gone are the blaze orange hunters and deer shacks sit with cold chimneys. I make my way down the old trail, breaking trail. My dog Bud ranging in front of me working the deep brown grass with a few inches of white snow at it's base. Not much snow, not enough to break out the snow shoes, they still sit back in the Dodge behind the seat. No crust on the snow as it has not warmed up enough to melt anything. The ground under the Pines is all but bare of any snow. The branches overhead having caught it all. A few rabbit tracks meander along the trail, a good sign, seeing rabbit tracks. I slow as I see the tell tale tracks of a grouse weaving back and forth across the trail in front of me. Bud sticks his nose in the tracks and follows them for a few feet before moving on. I put the shotgun back on my shoulder. If Bud is not interested they are old tracks.

I could have driven the truck down the trail to the deer shack, the hotel as we call it, but I was looking to stretch my legs. With a small day back slung over my shoulder I had left the Dodge behind and grabbed the old single shot twenty. A handful of shells in my pocket, a sandwich and a bottle of water in the pack was all I needed. Bud moved off the trail, his bright red collar and the sound of the bell giving him away as he moved through the grass. I heard the bell stop and found myself looking the wrong way as a grouse burst up at Buds feet and rocketed through the pines, of course away from me and leaving me with a smile on my face and the shot gun still resting across my shoulder. Bud bouncing up on his hind legs took a few steps trying to look over the high grass in the direction the bird took. Looking back at me he waited, I just waved my hand and he went back to looking. I lower the shot gun off my shoulder, just in case there was another. After a few minutes Bud gave up and moved back out onto the trail. I lowered the shotgun and made a mental note of where I was. Maybe on the walk out that bird will have returned to the trail.

A red ground squirrel announced our presents to anyone and anything in the woods as we came up to the clearing where the Hotel sits. Bud made a quick tour round the edge of the clearing before walking up on the porch and sitting at the door. Standing at the edge I looked at the shack sitting quiet and cold. A few weeks ago there would have been smoke coming from the chimney and some blaze orange coats hanging over the railing. Now the Hotel just looks tired and used just like it is suppose to. It fits perfectly with where it is at. I make my way to the porch and climb the few steps. Reaching over head I slip out the key for the lock from under the loose shingle. The lock turns easily and I put the key back in it's spot. Opening the door it creaks a little and the bottom drags some on the cold tile floor. Bud barges past me and makes a quick sweep of the cabin, looking for varmints or any thing out of place. He goes and sits by the cold potbelly stove and looks back at me. I take a quick walk around the place and stop at the kitchen table. The log lays right where Elmer and I left it with two sharpen pencils along side. I open the log and make a quick note of the date and that I saw a grouse on the trail on the way in. I also write that I oiled the door. I close the log and going to the shelf by the door I take out the oil can. I squirt a few drops in the lock, a drop on the hasp and a few more on the hinges. Moving the door back and forth a few times the creak grows quiet then it is gone.

With that done I put a chair on the porch and open my pack. The bologna about frozen between the two hunks of homemade bread with a little mustard tastes good as I sit in the chair and watch the sun break through the clouds. Bud sits patiently waiting for the last bite of sandwich which has always been his. Some water for me and a drink for Bud and we are done. I put the chair back inside the shack. I take the broom and sweep out the snow we tracked in and putting the broom back in it's place I close the door and put the lock on. Bud has already made it to the edge of the clearing and looks over his shoulder to see if I am coming. The pack goes back over my shoulder and the shot gun is checked to see if it is still loaded. With the sun shinning on the trail we head back to the truck and maybe that grouse has found it's way back onto the trail. It's always good to visit the Hotel, even if deer season is over..

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Great work, BB. Mind if I use your writing as an example of voice for my classroom? I think my students will enjoy it!

Thanks for sharing,


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