Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Old Woods

Yesterday I decided to take my nephew on a hike and do a little recreational shooting.    I figured the woods behind my old boyhood home would be a good place for it.   I had some good times in my youth doing just that.  

I remembered it as a difficult and isolated hike, full of cliffs and empty of people.   More than once my brother and I remarked to each other that no one would ever build here.  It seemed so rugged and remote.  

Well my nephew and I parked at a friends house nearby.   He said we should shoot off of his porch down into his ravine.   But the space seemed too enclosed for us, and we wanted more adventure.    "Well the fellow who owns your old place is a nice guy, but watch out for the one across the way here.   I think they deal drugs, and we have had words."    He also remarked that there had been a spate of people shooting each others dogs.

I skirted the property of the potential drug dealer and walked the edge of our old family farm.    We had to cross about 80 yards of ground to get to the woods behind it.   The house was about as far away.   We must not have walked ten yards when the new owner came out the door and started toward us asking what we wanted.      In my head I knew it was his land and that we had not owned this property for 20 years, but I was surprised at how offended I felt.  And this was the good neighbor!    I shouted that we were merely passing through to the woods and he allowed as that would be OK, but I could tell from there he was not happy about it.

The woods were thick with bramble.  Movement was difficult.   I remembered the bramble spots, but that on the other side of the tangle was a more suitable wood near the cliffs.    Sure enough, we eventually cleared the brambles.  But every time we thought we were isolated in the woods, we would see another house through the trees.    The property we thought would always remain empty was dotted with houses.   And I never did find the spot with the big cliffs.

Not knowing for sure if there was a safe place to shoot in what was left of those old woods, we headed back to my friend's place.   By now we were so tired that we even crossed what might have been the place where the supposed druggie who had had words with my friend lived.   We shot a few rounds into the ravine at my friends place, and headed back home- our actual homes, not the one that existed only in my mind.

The moral of the story, my young friends, is that going back again is not possible, therefore choose carefully your steps going forward.

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