Winter arrived. Better to stay off the Wyoming roads and practice tai chi in your living room. Better to finally finish Look Homeward Angel because you know you never truly gave it the attention it deserves. Write a poem, make a list of enemies. There's nothing to do and too much to do at the same time.
The pheasants keep coming. Likely these are birds raised by the game and fish. The wild birds have left the public walk-in areas weeks ago. I have this agreement with the Wyoming Game and Fish:you keep releasing birds and I'll keep making coq au vin. Wild pheasants are about as common here as useful politicians. But I applaud the Game and Fish's efforts to stock the landscape with pheasants. I'd rather see the skies darkened with prairie chickens, but I hear I'm 100 years too late. Still, even a state sponsored pheasant is a remarkable bird. Just this week, while walking along with The Rodfather, talking about wild bird stock as opposed to the stuff people buy in the cans, a likely penned-raised bird burst from beneath my feet. Henry leaped in the air like a fox, snapping his jaws at the bird's wake. I was so shook up by the flush that I missed the bird bigly. Very bigly. SAD! This bird flew off the public lands and onto the private property ringed with no trespassing signs. He's wild now. Or at least until the red fox finds him. .
I have a new essay, "Hanging with My Chums", in the fall issue of the Backcountry Journal. They are a non-profit that promotes public lands and tries to keep creeps from selling it to loggers. You can read my piece here.
I turned 50 this week with an Italian over-and-under in my hands, my dogs spreading out in the sage and native grasses. The little postage stamp plots of state land and BLM acres that might or might not hold wild coveys of sharp tail grouse have saved the season. As it goes with bird hunting, I was stooped over, removing a cactus thorn from Rocket's foot when the covey exploded. They set their wings and sailed into the next draw. But when I went there they were nowhere to be found. Just a big mule deer buck and his seven does. An excellent birthday.