End of Season

I stood on the ridge, in the dark and damp grey of the late November afternoon, holding the little folding camouflaged chair I had been sitting on, when it started to rain again.  This time it came down steady and hard and rhythmic, drowning out all other sounds the same way the oppressive grey clouds had muted the few remaining colors that November had been unable to kill.  I stood there, in my blaze orange hunting coat, my rifle in one hand and the chair in the other, as the rain pounded down on me.  Another season was ending, and whether there will be another was uncertain.  

I just stood there, getting wet, unable to process any thought.  I looked down the ridge to the forest floor that lay beneath me, then across the tree tops that stood before me.   I became aware of the rhythm of the falling rain, and that, in its gentle whisper, I was privy to an intimate secret it was sharing with the woods.  For a moment, my conjecture on whether this would be the last hunting season or not was put aside, and I was there, on the ridge top, alone in the woods, in my woods, listening to the secret that the rain was letting me in on.  It’s beautiful, it was saying, the grey rain in the trees and their dark shadows, even in the absence of color, especially in the absence of color, long after the spring blossoms of the wild flowers, long after the deep and lush greens of summer, more than a month after the brilliant oranges and yellows of autumn, and before the hushed pure white blanket of winter snow, here and now, when everyone else has retreated to the warmth and comfort and lamp lit lights of their homes, here in the woods alone with the cold and soft and driving rain it is still and quiet and beautiful. 

I stood there, in my woods, in my moment, drenched in its intimacy, listening to the sound of my rain, feeling it on my face.  It wasn’t the dark and cold rain I had become familiar with.  Instead, it was pure and steady and soothing, and it cleansed my soul.

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