The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Are you a hunter?

Sometimes the world seems small, and getting smaller. A young woman sat on her front step watching the baby play. I stopped to say hello. During our chat, we discovered she and her fiancé  had been to visit a friend of hers and his in a state where I once lived. We chatted awhile.

Eventually, we discovered the area where she had been camping was only a few miles from where I spent most of my childhood. and a middle portion of my adulthood. We hear about the small world-thing, and we often meet people who have been places we also have been. And after all, as long as I’ve been wandering the planet, and as many places as I’ve been, I’m bound to run into folks who have been some of the same places.

But to meet someone half my age who has found the joy of living, even for awhile, in the same forests where I spent my formative years – pretty neat!

I had thoughts along similar lines as I watched the Winter Olympics the past two weeks. I had never before noticed such a great number of athletes who were not from the nation they represented. I remember when it might be expected that a competitor from one nation might not really know to find the other nations on a model globe. This year – now I wish I’d written down their names – several were from one nation, representing another, and spoke English with almost no accent of either of the first two.

There is hope, I think, that eventually we will recognize that we all are riding the same whirling glob of mud and rocks, around in circles toward a destination of which we are as yet unaware. I wonder what catastrophe we might experience to make us notice that those who constantly point out our differences do so mostly for their own benefit. After all, if we stopped fighting each other, there would be an awful lot of weapons makers suddenly unemployed. As it is, American drone-makers are selling their wares to nations of which most of us are unaware – until the evening news bursts forth with reports of four of our sons being cut down in some African jungle.

It’s strange how we can form opinions about people by their manner of dress – whether they wear a necktie below their carefully coifed curls, or don hole-ridden jeans. Thus I should not have been surprised the other day as I was attempting to capture a prize-winning image of a few tens of thousands of snow geese when a woman pulled loose from a man likely her husband to earnestly ask, “Are you a hunter?”

I was slightly confused about why anyone would ask such a question in that environment.

She pointed to my jacket and in a voice heavily weighted with what I presumed was Japanese, she asked again, “Are you a hunter?” and pointed to my camo jacket.

“Only with a camera,” I said pointing toward my Nikon with a rather long lens.

“Ah,” I said. “Birds and many other animals are very perceptive about shapes and colors.”

I do not know why she asked, or whether she understood the answer. I’d have tried to talk more with her, but her husband clearly was ready to leave. I went back to the birds, having proven once again that the world is a small place, with lots of languages and clothing styles.

Fear of that is just a way some people have of earning their living.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for re-posting, and spot on.

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