This morning, from our position we will be able to see about for ten miles to the north, south and west. To the east due to the terrain, our visibility will be limited to only a couple miles or so. We are hunting geese today on one of our local farmer’s chopped corn fields in Marilla, New York a suburb of Buffalo. Yes, it is just days after the terrorist attacks on the world trade center and the pentagon.
As we set our decoys through out the corn stubble all seemed normal under the dark starry morning sky. With daylight growing brighter and brighter with each fleeting moment it began to become apparent that all was not as normal as it seemed under the cover of the twilight skies. Standing around talking and waiting for the first distant honk of a flock of Canada geese, silence was broken only a few times by a bawling heifer about a quarter of a mile away.
At once six of us started scrambling after someone muttered the word 'geese'. While we got set and ready we watched the skies only to see 'nothing'. We never heard another goose honking. While we were laying there I think we all noticed at the same time there were no planes flying for as far as we could see. The skies were clear. No distant exhaust streams, no low toned whistles of passing air planes passing overhead. We lay there and marveled at the sight of 'nothing'.
We all sat there in silence, for what seemed to be an extended period of time. Although no one said so, at that time I think we were all thinking about how anyone could question American freedom. Let alone what we were doing at dawn on a Saturday in the month of September laying amongst our decoys in a chopped corn field. The experience was truly eye opening to me. So much in our lives are taken for granted. I could not imagine not being able to do the things I love to do. We have it so good here.
First light in Marilla, NY – September 2001
No matter how bad things seem to get in my life, when everything seems to be turned upside down and twisted inside out, there is no place I would rather be. Flat on my back in a dusty, dirty chopped corn field hunting geese, my tree stand archery hunting whitetails or standing on a ridge somewhere in the pre-dawn spring darkness waiting for an old tom to wake-up the woods.
When I wrote this 13 years ago now. I had no idea where my life would take me. I have to say, it has been an incredible journey to say the least and I have been incredibly blessed. I will forever be thankful for what I have and the freedoms we all enjoy. For as much as my life has changed in this time that has passed since September 2001, there is one thing that remains constant for me. These things, that I love to do, are not only my passion in my life but also my freedom and to this day, our freedom is what I think of when I look up and see Clear Skies…
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