Dream of: 09 July 1995 "Hunters"

I awoke from a night's sleep in one of the upstairs bedrooms of the Gallia County Farmhouse. When I came down the stairs, my step-grandfather Clarence (probably in his 50s) was sitting on the maroon couch in the living room.

Other family members were also present. I didn't say good morning to anyone because I knew it was already late in the day and I felt embarrassed for having slept so long. It might even be after 12 o'clock. Besides I was more interested in something taking place outside. I walked out on to the front porch where my brother-in-law was standing. I looked across Symmes Creek – flowing under the bridge in front of the Farmhouse – and was surprised to see about 50 cars and trucks parked along the road on the other side of the bridge. A few cars and trucks were even parked on our land just below the Farmhouse on this side of the bridge.

Why were the cars and trucks there? Normally only hunters parked along the road – but it wasn't hunting season. The hunters routinely arrived in the fall to hunt deer or turkeys, but it was still summer, and I couldn't figure out what they could be hunting. However, I concluded the cars and trucks must belong to hunters. I asked my brother-in-law about it, but he seemed flummoxed.

From where my brother-in-law and I stood, I could see people stepping out of one of their vehicles and climbing down a steep bank toward the creek. I was surprised when they didn't stop when they reached the creek, but plowed right into the water and swam to the other side. Where could they be going in such a hurry? Was there some kind of camp-sight back in the woods that I didn't know about?

One fellow fell down, but he sprang right back up. The way he moved reminded me of acrobats, how they could fall straight down and push themselves back up without seeming to put any effort into it. I would like to learn how to do that someday, but right now I was more concerned with why the hunters were here disturbing our peace.

I thought how sometimes I liked to go out in the woods and sing. I had even been practicing a little song recently. What would the hunters think if they were to hear me singing in the woods? I thought it might be interesting to try it, but I quickly discarded the idea.

By the time I walked back into the Farmhouse, I was quite angry. I was most angry because I knew Clarence had given some of the hunters permission to come onto the Farm and hunt. Even though he also didn't particularly like hunters, he gave them permission to hunt because he was somewhat afraid of them. Almost immediately I launched into a diatribe against the hunters, exclaiming, "I hate hunters."

I did hate hunters. I despised them. To me they represented one of the lowest types of human beings. They had no appreciation for nature or life in the forest. They simply came out a couple times each year to kill. Clarence's actually giving some of the hunters permission to hunt on the Farm only exacerbated my hatred of the hunters. If the Farm belonged to me, I would put an end to that. I continued, "Stand up to them! Be a man!"

I knew I was going a little bit far by saying these things to Clarence because the land belonged to him, not to me. I also remembered that he himself used to hunt in his younger days. He didn't seem offended by what I had said. However, clearly he wasn't going to follow my advice. In a last effort I said, "The law protects you."

I also added that of course a hunter might shoot him if he didn't let them on the Farm, but I told him he could get shot anywhere, even in the middle of a city. I mainly wanted to just point out that he did have the right to keep the hunters off the land, and the law would enforce that right. However, it seemed clear that Clarence wouldn't stop the hunting.

The door to the downstairs bedroom was shut. I thought my father might be sleeping in there. Had he overheard what I had been saying? I knew that he basically followed Clarence's way of thinking, and that someday when my father owned the Farm, he would also let the hunters in. It would be a long time before I could keep them off.

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