This painting for me is more than a picture of a beautiful rooster pheasant. It is me trying to express the essence of something in my life that is significant.
Pheasant season ended a few weeks ago. It is a time when our dogs get to live their bliss, as Mary is so fond of putting it, living-bliss. I’ve re-blogged her post, because it is also about the dogs doing what they are born to do. They are working dogs and hunting is their work. They are happiest when they are working. What they do is written in their DNA.
I suppose the same is true for me. If I was plopped down in the American West 200 years ago I think I would have been perfectly happy. Engaging in hunting with dogs, friends and family keeps me connected to my roots and more primitive self.
Dogs are pack animals and pheasant hunting helps them live their pack experience. The difference is that we are now their pack, but the satisfaction to them is the same.
If I didn’t have bird dogs I probably wouldn’t bird hunt. The pleasure they bring to it is what makes it complete. These dogs have such heart in what they do. Hunting without them would be like dancing alone.
Procuring food is such a basic human activity. By acquiring food myself, I appreciate the meal much more. To spend the time hunting and experiencing the joy of success with my partners makes me think about what our hunter gatherer ancestors did on a daily basis. Then to have to go through the process of cleaning and preparing this food, it puts me very in touch with the reality of what was given.
When I hold the pheasant in my hand that I just killed and Blitz just fetched, I experience a blend of feelings. There is joy in the success and satisfaction of providing this meal to my family. There is appreciation for the beauty and for what this creature lost, it’s life. That leaves me with some sadness, but it is the reality of life. It causes me to not take meat in the grocery store for granted.
The time out in the field away from the day to day activities is a welcome break to go enjoy a more primal experience. There are things all around to be noticed that add to the richness of this time spent.
This time means so much when spent with family.
This is also a time for me to remember my old loyal hunting partners from years past. The ones that gave me so many fond memories. Last year was Hawk’s last season only we didn’t know it at the time. He should have had many more pheasants to retrieve. We miss him very much. Mary posted about him a while back, Her Papa’s Eyes.