Treena Mielke

Mielke: Fall carries treasured memories

For everything, there is a season and a time for everything under the sun.

It says so in the Good Book, so I believe it to be true.

Right now, with the leaves swirling around on the ground instead of up in the trees where they belong, it is quite obvious what season it is.

It is the season of fall, and we know that winter’s icy doorstep is just one shake of a snow globe away.

It is also hunting season.

For many of us, hunting season has no meaning, but for others it is a time to relish, a time to get away, whether it be for a day, a week or even longer. It is a time to become the hunter, carefully, cunningly, and stealthily stalking the prey of big game, whether it be elk, deer, or moose.

Last night for supper we enjoyed a venison roast taken from an animal that was killed last season and I have to say I am most grateful to that particular hunter who helped me fill my freezer.

As I enjoyed every morsel of that delicious roast that was on my plate, in my mind, I left my cozy warm kitchen and travelled back to the days of my childhood and the hunting trips I went on with my dad.

I grew up in a bachelor pad. There were guns and fishing rods stuck in a corner in the kitchen and the windows were curtainless. That house definitely lacked a feminine touch.

But I was quite contented living there with my dad and I would have willingly followed him pretty much anywhere.

Even hunting.

My memory is blurred about those hunting trips. I remember walking in the snow and being surrounded by lots of trees. And I remember the silence. Nothing but the crunch of our boots in the snow echoed in that silence.

I also remember him telling me to wait in the car for what seemed like hours and suddenly hearing gunshots pierce the silence.

I do believe that I was told to wait in the car because, as it turned out, I was not a particularly good hunting partner.

It started out well. That hunting trip. I obediently followed my dad into the trees. And then, suddenly, in the quiet of the snow-covered forest, we saw it. Our prey.

I have no idea if it was a doe or a buck or even a deer for that matter. I only know when my dad raised his rifle and fixed his sites on that beautiful creature, I grabbed his arm and in my most beseeching little girl voice pleaded, “don’t shoot, daddy.”

He didn’t.

Weirdly enough I don’t remember any hunting trips after that.

My dad died when I was still a teenager and thought I knew everything. I never did get to chat with him about that day in the forest when it was just him and me and this four-footed creature who stared solemnly back at us as my dad raised his rife for the kill.

Now, I realize that much of our diet in those long-ago days was comprised of wild meat and fish, none of which were bought over the counter and neatly packaged.

I wish I could tell him that I get that now.

On the other hand, I did believe in the sweet, innocent story of Bambi for a very long time.

I wish I could tell him that, too!

Treena Mielke is a Central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.