Dawn looms. Hues of purple mingle with long swaths of orange. We race the clock. Our car pointed West. Visions of Quail dance in my head. Moses is quiet. A quiet that makes one forget he is there. Lights dot the highway. A mixture of towns, and the occasional gas station light our path. Paved roads turn to gravel. Our time draws nearer.
The van shuts off. On que Moses springs to life. He knows. He knows why he has traveled. He knows his purpose. I load a few shells into my old pump gun. Clouds have pushed aside dawns early glow. Grit and gravel give way to each step. Flashes of white and brown buzz ahead. I carry the weight of hope in my right hand.
The creek flows, rough stones softened by time. Clumps of Bluestem dot the landscape.
Limestone springs forth from the landscape. Moses moving, always moving. We work our way to the peak of a long slanted hill. Time stands still for a brief moment. It was here I realize I have a bird dog. He spots me. Bolts in my direction. I give him a few head scratches, and release him.
Our morning hunt continues in a start stop fashion. My untrained eyes simple sees a dog running free. I remind myself, “he his not even a year old, calm down.” We come across various clusters of promising hope. Moses slows. Nose to ground. He pounces to the next grouping. We repeat this exercise a half dozen times. On number seven he points. I see his eyes tilt my direction as if to say, “See, I can do this.” I make my way to him. Slowly, with purpose I move. My boots shuffle through wild grasses. No birds flush. My eyes catch a few feathers tangled in near by branches. Softly they sway to the winds will and direction.
Our hunt continues for another hour. My hope dwindles. The steel remains quiet. Happily Moses darts to and fro. The dawn of his life before him. Hunts to come. Birds to point. We shall return here with many happy memories. Moses jumps back into his kennel. The van comes to life. Pavement replaces gravel. Moses is quiet.
By Erin Woodward
Erin Woodward is a novice bird hunter. He was born and raised in Kansas where he currently resides with his wife and three children. Erin can be found during the fall and winter months venturing across the Great Plains in search of wild game. Summers are reserved for fishing and making homemade ice cream. His works have appeared in: Sage & Braker, Missing Sucks, Hunt Redi, Project Upland and Endless Migration.