Saturday, November 2, 2002

This week marks the beginning of hunting season here in Maine. It's a most disconcerting time to live in the country unless you were born into it, which I wasn't.

You're right in the middle of sipping your morning cup of tea when BLAM, an extremely loud shotgun blast fills the air. Somewhere a deer is either dead, dying, or running, terrified, through the woods. And somewhere, a hunter feels the pulse of adrenaline rush through his veins.

When the hunter is successful, he loads the deer carcass into the back of his truck (for yes, he has a truck) and drives through town honking his horn excitedly. Hunter and carcass reach the market (which just also happens to be the game inspection station), where much fuss is made over the kill. Men come out to poke and scratch and discuss the event in great detail. Often beer is consumed.

Sundays are supposed to be no-hunt days, making it safe to stroll in the woods or, more likely, in your own yard. But the occasional gunshot still rings out, and I have my doubts about whether the hunter is "just practicing," as people like to say.

It's a pity, because November is one of the most beautiful times of year around here. As it is, I enjoy it from my window and from the highly visible perimeter of the house.

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