What I hate about turkey hunting
April 13, 2001
I can live with the mosquitoes, I just spray on more mosquito stuff. I can survive the heat, it helps me appreciate winter. I don't grumble when the alarm clock rings at 3:30 a.m. for the 26th day in a row. I know when I drag myself out there, the fun will be worth it. But what I hate are the mountains. Mountains these days have become so steep a turkey hunter can't stand up on their slopes and getting to the other side of one risks cardiac arrest.
What I want to know is why it is we have to have mountains around here? Mountains should be… uh… , well, in the mountains. What is more, the mountains hereabouts almost all used to be hills. The things grow. They do it at night when no one is looking. Just this week I almost fell off a mountain that I once skipped over with ease when it was just a hill only 30 years ago.
You want to know the difference between a hill and a mountain? The side of a hill is steep, and the side of a mountain is really, really steep. Our local mountains are so steep that one can pick hickory nuts from the tops of 60 foot trees while standing on the ground. The other day I saw a squirrel crawling along the ground on the side of a mountain so steep that he rested now and then by hanging onto the sides of trees!
Just this morning, while clinging to a mountain laurel branch in order not to fall from the mountain and never be heard from again, I decided that if I lived I would write this column as a protest against the proliferation of mountains across the muddy flats of Mississippi. Most of my text came to me as I attempted to stand up on the mountainside, but while I was vertical alright, there was nothing but air under my feet, which instead of supporting me had, of necessity, deferred to my hands – which now clung desperately to the fragile limb that was my link between life and death. I remember whispering to myself, "This is turkey hunting?"
Now that I am safe at home and have had a good hot shower, I am softening a little (precious little) on the mountains in my turkey woods. I got to thinking what if God hadn't made mountains there in the turkey woods. What would be there in their place? Probably briar patches or muddy sloughs and stuff. Or maybe just a bunch of hills.
Okay, it's really not the mountains I hate. They are really beautiful. Its how hard the beautiful darn things are to climb.