Friday, October 17, 2008
There comes a time in every good marriage
when one must sacrifice or compromise
in order to maintain harmony and peace
in the relationship.
Actually, I've always called it "giving in".
Last autumn I did just that to prove
to my husband how much I love him.
I became a bow hunter.
The old saying goes "If you can't beat 'em- join 'em!".
So I decided that in order to spend quality time together, I was going to have to become interested in the art of game hunting.
I was really quite flattered when he suggested we spend a quiet week together at a remote cabin in the woods.
No phone. No neighbors.
I imagined firelight, soft music, and a little romance.
But before the first log was ever placed on the fire,
he was planning his strategy.
"Get your hiking boots on", he ordered,
"We've got some tracking to do before nightfall."
I gave in.
I made that heroic sacrifice that separates the women from the girls.
That evening I was given an introduction to
a wide array of rules and tactics
that insure successful deer hunting.
Before that time I figured you just
hid in the woods till you saw a deer,
then you killed it and took it home.
But it's as complicated as chemistry
and as time consuming as house work.
In the days and weeks that followed
I learned about deer tracks, scents, and habits.
I took notes on wind direction, food sources, and mating rituals.
I learned to munch granola from a tree stand, judge distance, and to hold my bodily urges.
I learned to fight off gnats and insects and stickers and snakes.
I learned to listen, look, and be very quiet.
That was the hardest part for me because I constantly had to ask "Why?"
Once I learned the animal, I was ready to advance to weaponry.
I learned to pull back almost 40 pounds on a bow.
I practiced and practiced hitting the bulls eye.
And after lots of rehearsal, I could hit a target
relatively close to the designated "kill zone".
(But I can never watch the movie "Bambi" again
without an extreme sense of guilt.)
My husband led me into the bow shop one evening
and announced I that I was ready for my first bow.
I couldn't have been more surprised or embarrassed
if I was being fitted for my first bra.
We measured and sized and weighed
and ended up with $200 worth of equipment.
Guaranteed to bind two completely
different personalities into a loving couple
with common interests.
We spent many "quiet" weekends at the cabin.
But after being in a tree stand from
before sunrise till after dark,
the dreams of romance- of a steak dinner
and candles and wine-
was replaced with bologna sandwiches and beer
and camouflage clothing laid out to dry
on every conceivable surface.
We slept in our long underwear and thermal socks.
And we snored like tired mules.
All the long afternoons that I was
poised in my tree stand I fantasized
that when the hunting season was over,
my husband would return the "giving in" favor.
He would happily cart me to yard sales,
auctions, and flea markets.
He would gladly accompany me to quilt shows,
art museums, and white sales.
He would be ready and willing to go shopping
at the drop of a credit card.
However, I gained so much more in return.
I learned that "giving in" wasn't nearly
as difficult or as painful as I thought.
I would never take back the entire season
that my husband and I spent planning,
and laughing, and sharing special moments.
He taught me so much more than hunting.
He taught me to treasure the first few moments
of sunrise- when the sky glows with lilacs
and pinks and beautiful amber lights.
He taught me to love the stillness of the woods-
the sound of the wind blowing through the pines,
the call of a wild turkey,
the delicate shapes and colors of falling leaves,
and the silent cushion of a thick snowfall.
He taught me to be conscious
of changing weather conditions,
various plant life,
and to study little animals up close for the first time.
He taught me to once again be
in touch with my inner spirit.
Just yesterday he looked at
me sweetly and said,
"I'm considering taking up skydiving this summer."
That's where I drew the line.
We're seeing a marriage counselor
first thing Monday morning!