Hunting and hitting ‘delete’ button bring a renewed perspective on life

There’s something to be said for getting away from it all.  Really getting away.

As in escaping the jaws of the email monster for nearly 10 days. Although that means coming home and deleting nearly 120 messages that I knew from the subject line that I didn’t need to even open to determine their fate.

What’s even better was the realization as I delightedly hit the “delete button that, for the ten days I spent out of touch while elk hunting in the high country south of Gunnison, I didn’t give a rip whether both sides of the aisle in Congress might be once again expecting accolades for merely keeping the lights on for a few more weeks. Or whether Rick Perry and Mitt Romney were upping the antagonism quotient in their sparring for the GOP presidential nomination. Or, to borrow a phrase from NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer, “wondering where in the world is Barack Obama.”

As I write this, I still don’t know (or really care) who won the World Series. I’m vaguely aware that some prayerful pose struck by Tim Tebow may be attracting more positive spin than his play against the Detroit Lions.

I’m pleased at the messages, including those from industry insiders, agreeing with my take last week on the natural gas and oil shale folks causing some of their own problems. And also to read that the state is getting ready to promulgate rules that will require disclosure of all fluids used in fracking individual wells.

Here’s the short story on my annual search for the wily wapiti: The “hunting” was great. The “getting” remains a problem.

Wildlife sightings the past few weeks in the highlands above Cebola Creek near Powderhorn included 65 elk (but only one bull), a couple dozen deer, two bears and even a moose. That lone bull, flushed after a hard push through some timber, was well out of my range by the time I saw him chase the four cows he was trailing into the trees.

Not so the two bears.

Most of you who know me well will be surprised to learn I can sit still for more than six hours. I did that while overlooking a water hole just above Summit Park, the very spot where three years ago I bagged a big six-point bull. His rack was impressive enough to my “no dead animals on my walls” spouse that it was Bonnie who suggested we hang the bleached skull with its symmetrical antlers up in my office.

No such luck in this season’s solitary wait. But it did yield the view of a pretty good sized bear ambling over to the pond for a drink, then strolling about 20 yards away from my location before casually exiting the little park without even knowing I was there. Ditto the second smaller bear spotted hurrying through a day later.

There’s something humbling about watching a herd of 40 elk resting peacefully in the mid-day sun, knowing they’re well out of your range and can easily spot any attempt to close the gap and get near enough to shoot. I suspect that, with a better set of binoculars, we might have spotted the elk equivalent of nose-thumbing or mooning.

One brief foray into Gunnison to resupply did allow me to take advantage of cell phone service and tell my son how much I missed hunting with him. It’s the first season since Tony’s been old enough to buy a license that we haven’t had at least a weekend hunting together. Maybe next year.

Now it’s back to the “real world.” Since I’m looking pretty shaggy, it’s time for a haircut before heading off to our nation’s capital next week for some first-hand experience with legislators and bureaucrats.

There are about 75 email messages left that demand some attention and some voice mails to be answered. Hunting gear needs to be cleaned and stashed away for another year.

But life is better, with a renewed perspective about what’s important and what’s deserving of a judicious punch of the “delete” button.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you … while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  — John Muir

Jim Spehar promises no pre-emptive deletions of your comments to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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