We went up to camp in the North Country for a long weekend of searching for birds, getting camp ready for another harsh winter, which is coming on rather quickly, and catching up with the neighbors.
The weather was absolutely perfect for searching the fall woods for birds. There were still plenty of leaves on, but that did not prevent us from moving some birds in the paper company. The weather, gorgeous fall colors and dogwork combined to renew the soul of an old birdhunter who has missed a couple of seasons in recent years to injuries.
Unfortunately, even the best of times for renewal also carry a tinge of remorse and sadness. My old friend and closest neighbor has been suffering from bone cancer in recent years, and has taken a turn for the worse. This gentleman and his lovely wife were our first, and still best friends when we first came to the Adirondacks. We bought the old family farm where he grew up. Many would think that the situation could cause some hard feelings, but nothing could be further from the truth. These folks accepted us from the start. They have both taught us many things... about living in the mountains, and about unconditional acceptance and how to live a decent and god fearing life. They have made me examine my own hates and prejudices and made me ponder them much more closely.
I guess one could say that on some level, I love these people and look up to them. They're not rich monetarily, but have more than most people ever do in faith and goodness.
So, while I'm elated to be walking behind my Setters again carrying a gun, my heart is also heavy at the prospect of losing someone who has meant so much to me..
I love to be in the North Country chasing birds, but the Adirondacks will never be the same to me when my old friend passes..
Life goes on, and life ends.. the constant cycle of death and renewal..
I refresh the deepest reaches of my soul by once again feeling the crispness of the autumn woods, but the realization that an old friend will soon be gone from these mountains also tugs at my heart... Why can't life be more simple.. Pure elation or pure sadness???
Why does one emotion always have to be tempered by the other??
Perhaps our Maker is the only one that holds the answer, but I'll remember this trip... for it's joy, and it's foreboding of sadness..