The aging deer stand in the woods had seen much, including better days, which is not unlike us as we accumulate years
Old stand, look at my life. I’m a lot like you were.
Your sudden presence struck me with fortissimo in a well-tuned forest full of chatter and melody. And when the decrescendo of it all left just a whispering wind, the irony emerged.
It was you who snuck up on me, although it is you who cannot move. It was you who got my attention, although it is you who cannot talk.
And yet, here you are.
Walks in the woods on a typical day don’t usually promise more than that. Birds and their song, the dash of a chipmunk and annoying crackle of squirrels. Maybe even the whoosh of a spooked deer and the sight of its bouncing white tail growing smaller and smaller into the horizon.
But the surprise on this day came after wandering from the trail and breaking through some thorny brush. And for as much as there is to see in the woods, the focus on this old wooden deer stand was singular.
How long have you been here?
It’s been years, maybe even decades, based on your appearance. Your lumber is faded and fragile, long removed from the days you supported the eager hunter. How much optimism climbed your steps, and how much disappointment descended them?
Who put you here?
Maybe it was a group of men, friends for years who brought your bones here. Measured and cut them to size, then joined them with nails and bolts. Or maybe it was a father and son, adding another chapter to a lifelong book of hunting adventures.
What have you seen?
Surely, more than one magnificent whitetail walked its final steps in your range. And no doubt, countless more racoons, possums and rabbits have darted through this territory.
What about snow, stacking itself neatly on those quiet winter evenings? Or violently drifting itself into shape under the powerful but unpredictable hand of howling winds through the night?
What have you heard?
Surely, countless stories and thoughts from the hunter who sat silent for hours. Long before the arrival of smartphones where people actually used the voice in their head.
And the animals, fleeing in fright from predators or purring contentedly while scrounging for food to sustain themselves.
You’ve seen much, I am sure, including better days. The grace and strength you once had are evident, but can your support be trusted today?
It’s enough to make a man think of himself in much the same way. Like you, old stand, time for man passes quickly and offers no quarter. Age weakens joints and drains strength. The legs are quick to ache and the lungs are are not as big as they used to be.
This stand is not like it used to be, but neither are some men. And yet, old stand, you are not beyond repair, much like some men.
As you have your tree, old stand, we have our friends, family and loved ones.
And like you, old stand, we all need something to lean on, the whole day through.
Chavez is sports editor at The Daily Messenger. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me @MPN_bchavez