Friends with Feathers

I have become a very poor excuse for a faux Buddhist. I used to draw the line at killing spiders and bugs—they were menaces. Then I rediscovered a bloodthirsty fish eater lurking within me after a dormancy since my Grandfather stopped taking me out on the water. Fishing made sense when we moved to trout-blessed Colorado, but I was still uncomfortable with the hunting concept. Why would anyone intervene in nature’s order and shoot creatures in the woods? As I have discovered though, that was a naïve perspective. Nature needs a little assistance to attempt balance, especially with the havoc we have caused on the climate.

Now I’ve taken my online hunter education course and will complete the process next month to lawfully bear arms and venture into the hills. Honestly, I do not know that I will ever be able to be the one pulling the trigger or drawing back the arrow. But I also don’t want to be the one in the group that is clueless and unable to handle being around the weapons or spoils of the pursuit.

Grouse for a higher purpose.

In a full circle kind of way, the spoils lately have been baggies of feathers plucked from grouse shot by my good friend. I remember the discomfort I felt when we first encountered New Mexican “rednecks” shooting “mountain chickens” barely off the trail to Trampas Lake. Now I’m cheering on my pal’s kill instinct so I can have local natural products to tie my flies. In less than a year of Colorado life I’ve become that person. I have become complicit in death cycles. Grouse and trout better beware, and spiders too. Bugs are a new fascination, but that’s a different blog.

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