After visiting my cousin Marlene when she had pancreatic cancer, I commented to a friend, “I hope I would not be in that much denial if I ever got sick, but I am cut from the same genetic clothe as Marlene and I don’t know what I would do if I were in her situation.”
Marlene’s sickness and death was a catalyst for me to move home, and now that I am here, I am getting in touch with my “genetic clothe;” I am learning about myself, just by being in the place where I grew up and around my family.
This past weekend, my mother and I went “up north,” 240 miles to northeastern Michigan, to the place where my mother grew up and where I still have relatives. An aunt and a cousin live down the dirt road from my grandparents’ farmhouse. Another cousin is converting the farmhouse into a hunting lodge.
While we were up north, I saw several cousins; a few were tending to their deer blinds in anticipation of the upcoming hunting season. Yes, my family hunts.
Neither of my parents hunted, and it was not something I ever did. Over the years, though, I have received annual reports—who hunted during bow and arrow season or who shot a deer.
This weekend, one of my cousins asked if I wanted to ride with him to his blind. I had seen blinds before, but this ride was on a four-wheeler, and I had never been on a four-wheeler. I said, “yes.”
We drove past my grandparents’ farmhouse and into the woods. Along the way, my cousin pointed out sights from our childhood. One spot was where the original hunting lodge had been, a favorite play house for us as kids. It is long gone, but the clearing remains. And then we crossed the spring-fed creek, clear and icy-cold; as a child, I loved drinking from that spring.
We continued deep into the woods until we reached his blind, poised on a beautiful little clearing, with a good vantage point for sighting deer.
I can’t quite imagine myself hunting, in the same way I can’t see myself parasailing or even golfing. I’ve got nothing against those activities, but if I had four free hours, I would rather read a book.
So, maybe I’ll go up north during hunting season to spend some time with my family, and while they are out hunting, I will sit in the lodge and read.