The excitement is in the air. Everyone has been planning for this for weeks. By yesterday, the atmosphere was thick with it. Many have arranged for time off from work. And today’s the day.
Yes, the guns have been cleaned. There’s plenty of ammo. And don’t forget the beer.
This is a time of year to which I have never grown accustomed. The sight of deer carcasses slung across cars, casually driving around town, really bothers me. Or how about the car dealership that has some kind of contest, where there will be a long line of carcasses hanging from a pole, easily visible from the street.
No, although many eagerly look forward to this time, it is not a season I have ever enjoyed. I do not understand the drive that makes a regular person want to get out to shoot and kill deer or any other animals. I have yet to meet a person who does it because they actually need to kill deer to survive. And venison is clearly an acquired taste.
The frenzy over the hunt pervades the entire community. I am clearly in the minority in my distaste for it. It’s more than distaste, though. It disturbs me how people get wound up and passionate about this activity of killing. I know I am the odd one in this feeling.
For me, I much prefer those magical moments of spotting a deer and simply savoring its beauty – of honoring our kinship as beings sharing this earth. I see deer as members of families, parents and children, struggling to survive on this changing earth. I am delighted even to simply come across deer tracks in the snow, wondering about the mystery of their lives.
Spare me the arguments about the need to control the deer population. I think there is a lot at work here in the social psyche that creates this strange holiday and the way people behave related to it. For all the gung ho, festive, all-American patina to it, this sacred ritual strikes me as a dark season.
I’d just like the shooting to stop.