Friday, September 27, 2013

I want to sit in that tree...

Famous Conservationist Aldo Leopold once stated "One hundred and twenty acres, according the county clerk, is the extent of my worldly domain." Well, 120 acres IS technically the extent of my worldly domain.  As wasteful and unproductive as it sounds, I've thought about this quote relentlessly since I saw those words in A Sand County Almanac.  There are a lot of deep and intellectual things a man can pull out of that quote.  My thinking of it was pretty simple at first, but as you will read it has led to some deeper thoughts.  I recently wondered how many trees are there in my worldly 120 acre domain. I have no idea and will certainly never know, but I do know during my last bowhunting outing opening weekend here in Wisconsin, I remember looking around the unseasonably cold forest thinking "I certainly can find a better tree than I'm currently in."  The tree is old, shaggy and stubbornly uncomfortable.  Sure enough, after watching a beautiful 2 year old buck trot just out of range past an inviting, tall sturdy maple I thought to myself, I want to sit in that tree.  Not only would it have given me a quality shooting opportunity, it just looked inviting. 

Certain trees just have that unexplainable, cant put your finger on it ambiance about them, sort of like a friendly person or familiar place.  Each tree has it's own texture... bumps, scars and feel, or personality if you will.  Any outdoorsmen who has used a climbing tree stand will know what I'm talking about.  To be clear, trees aren't a place, they're a tree.  Trees eventually become thought of as places because every fall we return to the same tree.. or place, and have positive about those places.  For me, a select few trees have developed into "places." I recently hung a tree stand in a spot that should've had a stand in it since my parents purchased the property in 1996.  I sat in this tree a few weeks ago and it already has the makings of a "place", or that tree. It sits not twenty yards from three of my most memorable hunts in the woods. The tree is along the ridge my Dad calls his "favorite spot" on the farm. If someone could watch me sit in a tree during a hunt, they would notice me turning around to basically stare at a tree and think, and they'd very confused and most likely think of me as an idiot and laugh.  But I feel there is a lot of history each tree has gone through that is worth pondering.  To know that some trees are over one-hundred years old is truly amazing, think of all the storms and bitter cold days they've endured over time.

So, the next time you're in the woods looking for a perfect stand site or just a good place to sit and rest, equally consider every tree, and eventually you'll find that tree.  Imagine all the trees that became that tree for fellows like Aldo Leopold, Bill Jordan, or Charlie Alsheimer..