I ran into a walnut grower the other day and inquired if he had begun his harvest. "Not quite," he replied. "The almond guys have started, but the walnuts are still a couple weeks out."
Harvest season is definitely upon us.
I know that a lot of folks hate to see summer go, but I love the coming of all of the seasons. I love the cool mornings that are the first hint of fall, the first frost that warns of the coming of winter and the warm afternoon sun that signals the advent of spring.
The fall harvest and the fall hunting season go hand in hand.
Way back when almost everyone was a farmer, we as a people were all aware that we were part of God’s grand scheme. Just as droughts, spring floods or an especially bitter winter created lean times for farmers, so, too, the whims of nature meant lean hunting or a bumper crop of game for the winter.
One touchstone to the natural world that many urban dwellers retain is our hunting heritage. Every fall, millions of Americans take to the woods and fields and experience being a part of nature.
Indeed, some Americans who are neither farmers nor hunters seem to feel they are above nature rather than part of it. They don’t seem to realize that if you order bacon and eggs at Denny’s and wash it down with a glass of milk, farming somehow must have entered the picture.
Farmers and hunters not only have a lot of similarities, they are often the same people.
Every farmer knows that he is subject to the changing moods of nature, that a freak storm or frost or rain can spell disaster.
Likewise, to succeed as a hunter, you must know something about the game you seek and the environment that surrounds it. You must study the terrain, the vegetation your quarry needs for food and shelter, and age-old migration routes. You must be aware of the importance of a shift in the wind or a subtle rustle in the leaves.
Those millions of Americans who go afield each fall probably have a better understanding than most of the value of clean streams or the importance of a meadow where doe can have her fawns. Each fall, we are reminded that we are indeed a part of this planet on which we live.
When we succeed and sit down to a dinner of venison or trout that we have been fortunate enough to put on the table, maybe, just maybe, we might be a little more likely to give thanks for our meal.
Until next time, tight lines.
• Don Moyer, outdoors columnist and author for the Tracy Press, began writing Tight Lines more than three decades ago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.