Those boys have big feet.
Not huge, just bigger than mine.
I was stumbling around in the dark in that time between 4 and 4:30 when you can see the sun coming, but don’t have enough natural light yet to tell heads from tails in the mud room shoe pile.
The night before, three gobblers had been throwing down insults against each other from the ridge, and there is so very little time left before the season’s end.
I don’t have a license for my own place, so I’d only be able to take a camera, but I so wanted to call one in long enough to see a beard dragging through the morning dew.
I could have just slept in but was having one of those guilty dreams that last so long that you look for any excuse to escape it.
I stumbled around in the dark so as not to startle my wife and ended up with a pair of shoes that my feet didn’t belong in.
Each step had my toes sliding forward as I walked down hill to bounce against the leather.
Lane graduated from Brookings on Saturday and is lining up assistantships for his graduate program.
Both his hands and feet out-measure mine, and I cussed my haste with each step.
I stopped at the first fence, the high one, that I had to cross in the dark and remember walking with him on his first deer hunt when he stumbled over an elk shed in the tall grass.
He went on to use that antler for a rest and took his first buck, a six by six, that still hangs in his room.
Lane has done so well that his lady boss at the campus sent his mother a letter of recommendation for parenting, a first she said for her as a department head.
It made Leslie cry.
No longer sliding down, but instead climbing up towards the ridge line.
I am reminded that waterproof clothing is made to keep moisture out, not prevent sweat from soaking you from the inside.
I stop to tighten the shoes and realize that they aren’t matched, and that neither are mine.
The left one belongs to Connor, and he graduates from high school this Saturday, our last child.
Halfway up the ridge is the low fence, much easier for me to swing a leg over, and Connor helped me stretch this half mile and put up the gates and all the posts.
There is a sandstone ledge where we both like to sit and think.
That summer I first took him there and showed him where I had I used a stiff piece of wire to scratch in his name. Carve your blessings in stone.
I have so many pictures of both boys together on hunting adventures and fishing trips.
Connor helping Lane drag out a buck when he only weighed 40 pounds and holding the decoy when Lane took his Pope and Young antelope.
Later of Lane’s best friends fighting through drifts with Connor’s first elk on their backs.
When you have a brother, someone always has your back.
As his grandmother was dying, Connor was the one who was home to put his arms around me as she passed.
Smallest at birth, we always knew that he would grow to be the tallest one, the best runner.
But I never guessed that he would have to strong enough to help hold me together.
The Speirs family has owned and operated Crow Creek Wildlife Management Service since 1996.
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