Blessed

As usual, chukar hunting, like some of the best things in life, continues not to make much sense to me. What does make sense to me is that the fact that it doesn’t make sense is probably the reason I keep doing it, not necessarily so I can find some sense in it, but because it’s not subject to the rules of things that should make sense. Things that should make sense are problematic because when they don’t make sense, which always eventually happens, then you get all warped up and try to force something that can’t be forced. Something breaks, or needs to. There are things about chukar hunting that make sense, such as — duh — you need to remember to bring your gun, and your dogs, and all that other crap to make it happen. But that’s not the hunting. I’m talking about hunting. It makes no sense. I love it. That I’m able to do it and not feel obliged to understand it makes it my favorite blessing. I guess that’s why I’m writing about it on Christmas instead of doing it; I’d rather be out there, but there are things that need to make sense today that got in the way. Writing about it is a way of trying to have it make sense, but I’m not afraid I’ll turn it into an understood thing because it’s hunting. Hunting can’t make any sense. When it does, I’ll stop.

So I’m glad I’m not yet sleeping in an alabaster chamber, partly because I’m not really sure about my level of meekness, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been touched by morning and by noon, several times, in the past week of hiking the chukar hills with our family. It’s been a particularly blessed week.

Partly because we’ve made a more devout effort this season to hunt areas we’ve never hunted before. Surprise: it’s paid off. Everyone has his or her go-to spots, and ours seemed to have dried up this season, which is good and bad but overall a blessing I think. If the familiar spots had contained the numbers of birds we’d been accustomed to, we wouldn’t have expanded the repertoire and would have missed what’s been there all along but untouched by our feet. I hope there’s a lesson in this we can remember.

Another blessed thing is that, as the season winds down, I’m amazed that each season we seem to lap more miles, elevation gain, and bagged game. This sounds like bragging (maybe it is), but it’s notable to me because it speaks of a growing desire for something: maybe it’s time with the dogs, especially one whose season itself is a miracle but also the other one who’s getting better each hunt (miraculous in itself when considering our beginning together). Maybe it’s a proof thing: can we do more even though our bodies don’t look or feel as fit and young as only a few seasons ago? Maybe we’re just dumber. Who knows? It makes no sense.

I’ll take it. I feel blessed. I wish you all the same.

It seemed miraculous that the antler-rubbed shavings still sat in a pile months after being scraped
Peat’s ruffed grouse
Peat’s dusky grouse
Double chukar
Peat’s haul Christmas eve: dusky grouse, chukar, and Hungarian partridge
Peat and a Hungarian partridge

10 Replies to “Blessed”

  1. Beautiful pictures Bob! I am glad to see you and Leslie so blessed to have good memories with your dogs and the birds in wonderful place. Merry Christmas!

    1. As you know I more or less stopped hunting a few years ago. I am unlikely to stop in principle, but apparently have in a practical sense. My interest in the dogs themselves had slowly but surely overwhelmed my interest in the getting of game. Yet the desire is only covered and not extinguished. I now seem to identify to some extent with Thoreau in his passage where he discovers he did not bring a “fowling piece” to his experiment at the pond. I am saying all this because, I like and admire your appeal to the irrational. The “why” of hunting seems far too peculiar (and primal) to me to submit to merely pragmatic origins, much less be sullied as art as been by saying it is merely for pleasure. The polar eskimos, whose only vegetable was the seaweed pulled from the guts of a harpooned seal, does not stand so much as a paradigm of the human’s pragmatic need to hunt so much as an illustration of the lengths to which persons will go so that he or she or they might hunt. Hunting seems to me to be a more ontological condition that either ethical or pragmatic one; it is an activity that José Ortega y Gasset spoke about as “a vacation in the paleolithic.” And though some do understand hunting as a vacation, what matters most in his locution, is the paleolithic. It appears hunting finds its origins in the irrational that obtains long before anything like ethics or the mind body problem. Yet urge to hunt as primal as it is, remains optional: you know, like sex 🙂

      1. Thanks for your thoughts, Peter. As you know (or I hope you do), your book and conversation has positively influenced my embracing the irrational (more so than Gasset). I’ve thought about making a salad out of the crop contents of chukar and grouse, and even tasted some of the grass leaves once (awful). And I’m now reloading our shells. Talk about irrational. If ever you feel like uncovering your interest in getting chukar, you know where to find us (or do you?).

  2. I’m glad it doesn’t make sense to me either! We need things in our lives that don’t make sense. Merry Christmas, Bob and Leslie!

  3. Merry Christmas Bob and Leslie. Now I really feel stupid. I thought I had it figured out until you made me make sense of it all.

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