What does one do to pass the time while sitting in a deer stand? It is a question that must be answered by anyone spending any significant amount of time living in a tree. For there will be days when nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, is happening.
For the past two hunts, I saw two turkeys and one squirrel in nearly eight hours in the stand. The area was so barren of life that my heart skipped when I saw the squirrel, a bit of nervousness reminding me I wasn’t the only living soul in the woods.
So I had plenty of time to think while I watched corn to my left, green space in front, beans to my right, and woods behind me. Plenty of time. Here are a few thoughts that passed through my mind, probably very similar to what some of you are pondering while up a tree (unless you’re much more concentrated than me).
I counted deer from past hunts; wondered how many ears of corn are in this field I was watching; thought about The Hole, The Blind, The 10-acre Field, Joshua Tree, Wanza’s, The Widowmaker, and all the names of all the other stands I have hunted through the years; questioned when I could start taking Madeline with me turkey hunting, when she would be ready; hoped Madeline and her mom were safe during their Sunday morning travels; pondered if the Yankees have enough good bats in their lineup to get through the Phillies if they get to the Series; cried about Notre Dame’s game versus Stanford; recounted deer from past hunts; estimated how many steps it takes for me to walk from the truck to Joshua Tree; prayed that my wife will be to help a friend of hers out with some of her serious, personal problems; evaluated if my nose is larger than most, for I can close one of my eyes and still see a significant amount of it; wondered how long our high school lunch periods were when I was going to school; hoped Rob was seeing deer over the ridge; and tried to figure out how I have become a Nebraska Cornhusker fan after despising them for so many years.
Well, the last thought I had a definite answer to: Pelini.
All the others, I’m never sure I came up with the right answers to satisfy me. So I continued to think, peering to my left and my right the entire time, mainly wondering where in the hell all the deer went.
And when I met Rob back at the truck, looking at my friend who I’ve known since birth, I couldn’t help but know what was coming. “Hey, Jeff,” he started, “maybe later this year I can take you hunting so we can see some deer.”
An obscene gesture later, we were riding down gravel roads laughing about the morning, comparing notes on all that we had figured out while we were up a tree.