ORION IN THE MORNING
It’s hunting season here where wildlife still is taken for food. The young men who painted my house want to use my property to access the wild lands in the mountains above me. It’s the time of year to fill the freezers with meat for the winter. Venison and turkey. There’s no question of trophy hunting, the meat of the big buck is way too tough. The deer come down into my yard each night and eat the rose bushes. The young men noticed that.
Remembering how my father also was a hunter and how our family stocked the freezer every fall with duck and partridge and deer and moose from up by the Canadian border where we lived, I told the young men yes. The deer eluded them, but that’s how hunting is. I confess to a preference for the hunter over the slaughterer when it comes to taking the life of an animal for food. There’s an exchange of energy between the hunter and the deer. A connection.
But that is not the theme I intended when I began to write. I meant to tell you that when I let little Mo out first thing this morning Orion still was striding across the sky. I don’t see him yet at night, now that I’m going early to bed. Judging from his position this morning, midpoint in the sky, I suspect he doesn’t stride over from the east until about three A.M. He’s probably still up there now that the sun has risen, making his way towards the western horizon.
Grief is a hunter. That’s what I thought this morning. It will be seven months tomorrow since John died. I’m hunting. I’m hungry. Sources of food elude me. I’m striding the mountains, sword in my belt, seeking a kind of being I’ve rarely encountered -- the one who gives life without dying. The sword I carry is not to bring death but to cut through illusion. I’m hungry for reality, for the truth, for love that is available always and everywhere.
That sounds good, but I got carried away. Hunting is often an exhausting business. Grieving is also. Hunting consists in watching for tracks, for scat, for broken twigs, and many times results in returning home empty-handed and still hungry. Tim and Clint came down the mountain the other night, thanked me and said, “Nothing for supper tonight.” They can, of course, stop for an Arby’s on the way home, but it’s not the same.
I’ve seen the tracks of Being. I’ve wondered at the bent twigs of a perhaps knowing. A sudden cry in the woods can set my heart burning. But the hunt is still on.