I went for a walk in the woods at night. No headlamp, no flashlight. It was moonless, soundless and still. A bourbon in one hand and a 1971 Remington Wingmaster 12 gauge in the other. Keeping your hands occupied is crucial while your mind wonders just what the hell is going on out there.. and inside itself.
What ten horned biblical anomaly is waiting to gouge out our eyes and suck the fat from our asses like some plastic surgeon vampire? Maybe it’s only the lawyers who flounce about in the dark woods, hoping to stumble on a root and sue a tree. The judge would side with the lawyer, and the tree would soon be cut down and milled into his crossword puzzle that he dotes on to avoid his hysterical pill popping wife.
“It will all be alright,” says the sweet flashlight, “together we will know what lurks out there..” A flashlight is a tool of misdirection, a narrow beam masquerading as a security blanket. Every direction is safe if you’re pointing at it, unless something is pointing back at you. You can’t wrap yourself up in its straight lines. Sometimes it’s better to walk through the darkness. Let it envelop you whole. Trust your other modern senses, and get in touch with ancient ones. The ones that make your hair stand up. The ones that know you’re being watched, followed, and are not alone. The ones that kept our ancestors away from the saber-tooth before the imbeciles harnessed fire. Could you imagine sleeping in a dark forest with megafauna about? 30 foot beavers and 3 ton bears circling you. That’s real fear.
I’m more afraid of the things I see during the day. The other creatures and humans who feel safe enough to show themselves in the light. Most of us are dumb and hopeful, the others are bad medicine. A rabid wolf has nothing on a gang of 18 year old boys. There is nothing more dangerous in this world than a pack of energized, fearless, and bored 18 year old boys. There’s a reason the military sends them off to war. The stupid bastards think they’re immortal and bulletproof, and they have no qualms about trying to prove it.
I’m afraid of the Ted Cruz* types. The soulless and black eyed friends of the tree suing lawyer. They are more merciless than a starving crocodile in an over capacity public pool, and often times twice as stupid. During the day they have their neat hair and pressed suits, their pre-planned public talking points, and those sweat-toothed grins. At night they’re trading our futures for a song and doing blow off of the interns tits. What they do in the shadows is what they tell us not to do during their long, sweaty days.
I turned around once I reached the top of the creek where it came off the mountain. Its barely audible trickle fell into my ears. This drought is bad. The creek shouldn’t be this low till September. I felt the long crunch of pine needles and thought of the decisive clunk my cowboy boots made on the Metro platform. I liked Washington DC. That was the most surprising thing of the whole trip I made the week before. The reason I left to walk in the woods at dark – to search for the voice that brought that glub up from the depths.
I went to DC to lobby for the LWCF on behalf of the Nevada Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. First off, click the LWCF link and read up. It’s an awesome fund that should be reauthorized and fully funded. It takes offshore oil and gas royalties and uses them to fund parks, wilderness, access, easements.. basically all the things we who love the outdoors use and enjoy. Send a note to your representatives and tell them you want LWCF fully funded and reauthorized. Let the oil companies pay for something good.
Second, if you aren’t a member of BHA and are a similarly minded outdoorsman, do your grandkids a favor and join. Good people doing good work. Although I don’t know who hit their head and thought it a good idea to send me to DC. I behaved, well, most of the time. You can raise some real hell when you’re in cowboy boots and your brain says it’s midnight but the clock says three. But alas.. no mugshots…
As I approached the house the dogs began to whine. I coulda brought them but they would have acted as scent detectors and ruined the mystery and quiet I desperately needed.
When the world is all lit up there’s nothing to keep a mind occupied. The world becomes a girl who gives it up on the first date. Sure it’s fun but you aren’t gonna be back. Maybe that was DC to me for three days. Maybe we’ll get drunk and do it all again every once in awhile. Either way, I’m old enough to enjoy it.
* I literally ran into Ted Cruz in the senate office building. I just came out of a meeting with his nemesis Harry Reid’s office and was checking my messages. He was also in phone zombie mode. We bumped into one another, glared, and did not apologize. I had to verify with my new friend Garrett that it was in fact Captain Batshit, and indeed it was. It was then I smelt the burning of flesh..