Old Jasper Blankenship bought a deer license again this year, just as he's done every year since Eisenhower was President. He sticks nickels and dimes in a jar all year long and smiles each time he contributes. By Fall, he's saved up enough for a deer tag.
Jasper lives full-time out at the diggin's with his dog, Arthur, of course, so he has only to walk about 100 feet from the cabin to do his hunting. That's one of the marvels of it.
If he sees a nice buck, he might shoot it. Hey, he enjoys venison like everyone else, of course. But he might not shoot it. He had two good shots last Fall and didn't take either one of them. He's tried to justify this inactivity to himself, but has come a cropper each time.
So off he went once again with his rifle to sit against that one certain tree, kinda scrooched around in the pine needles until he was comfortable, and waited.
The squirrel came down a nearby tree and chattered at him for a while, and then left. The blue jay flew to a branch above him and looked down. Didn't stay long, though.
The soft music of the mountains began along about four in the afternoon, resembling at first just the breeze in the tops of the aspens, but later taking form into a melody no composer could ever create.
A legal buck came along just about sundown, but he just waved at it and watched it bound off. Didn't want to shoot one on opening day, anyway. Still five days to go. Maybe tomorrow.
Brought to you by Arizona's Book of the Year, "Stories from History's Dust Bin," by Wayne Winterton. Available everywhere online.