A Porcupine Provides Perspective
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
–Excerpt from William Wordsworth’s poem “The World is Too Much with Us”
You may recall these lines of poetry from high school English class and wonder of their place in this pheasant guy’s blog. The answer to their presence begins on Saturday morning under a glorious sunny sky.
I was hunting with my dad, brother, 10-year old nephew, my dad’s Brittany and my two shorthairs. The temps were crisp and the winds were low. All the elements were in place for a memorable day afield.
Then, I began to shoot and miss. In total, I racked up a dozen misses without meat for the pot by late afternoon. My frustration mounted. My smile disappeared. My words became short. I had lost perspective.
That’s when my 7-month-old shorthair, Izzy, raced back to me with terror in her eyes and a mouth full of porcupine. Quickly, my dad and brother came to my aid, and we successfully removed more than two dozen quills mostly outside of Izzy’s muzzle. It’s no secret a bad porcupine encounter can be life threatening. Izzy and I had gotten off lucky, and in fact, that porcupine had given me perspective on my inaccuracy, in shooting and in how I’d been living life that day.
What was true in Wordsworth’s time is still true today; the world is too much with us. I often think about society’s disconnection to nature from Leopold’s perspective of food and land. However, the weekend’s porcupine added the complexity of society’s disconnection to nature that Wordsworth references. In simplest terms, life is short. A missed shot, even a box of missed shots, shouldn’t deflect your eyes from the blessing of a day afield with a healthy family, happy bird dogs and our natural world.
Perhaps today’s blog is a little too heavy, so allow me to lighten up my point. Take tomorrow off from work and go bird hunting. You only live once, so you better make the most of the trip.
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