It was actually the hail that woke me up, about 15 minutes before the alarm was supposed to awaken me.
I woke Roo and we lay in my bed, reluctant to leave its warmth and comfort, but also desiring to be out where the deer were. The rain and hail didn't help push us out of the bed.
Then she reported that she could see the stars. I looked and their brightness beckoned us out. So we quickly fried some eggs, bundled up a little, and headed out to the tree house/deer blind to start the youth hunt.
Even if we hadn't seen deer, the glory of the morning would have made the effort worthwhile. The height of the treehouse/deer blind gave us a panoramic view of the sunrising, illuminating the misty field.
The hail had turned to drizzle and fog and it was beautiful. Crystalline drops hung from the pine needles and light reverberated through them as the sun rose, more quickly than one would expect. How a blonde or white hair had gotten got in the needles is a mystery. The clarity of the needles and drops was stark against the morning mistiness.
Patience is a lesson to be learned well while hunting. Roo's older sisters had composed a "rap" piece describing how they were cold and bored and wished they had gotten a deer. The composition was born in this treehouse. Now Roo was getting the feel of it. As active as she is, sitting quietly is a great challenge and much whispering went on, but she waited, seeing bushes turn into deer and back into bushes again.
Finally one of those deer appeared in the middle of the field...in a place where we knew there were no bushes. She squeezed off a shot and we saw the deer run off into the woods by the swamp. She wasn't too confident about the shot, but still wanted to run right down and tell her sisters who were still in beds.
More patience was needed as I told her to wait awhile because another deer might appear. So, she stood with gun through the window peering into the fogginess, hoping, yet not sure that anything would come after the noise of her first shot.
Patience paid off as two more deer appeared in the middle of the fog. She held her shot for quite awhile as the fog burned off and she got a much better view of them.
Let out the breath. Squeeze the trigger. Brace against the kick of the 243 rifle. Watch the deer run clumsily to the left, making it into a hedgerow. Big excited eyes. Mom is confident of that shot, having watched how it ran.
Down the ladder, into the house where sisters are up, having been awakened by the shots. Excitement fills the house as everybody bundles up, grabs knives, and prepares to track the deer, hoping to find two down.
Precious found the second deer, a spike-horn buck, after "gut instinct" told her to turn left at a certain spot and look on the other side of the hedgerow. The first deer was never found, not a trace, which means it was probably not even wounded, for which we are thankful.
It took several of us ladies to field dress the deer, not being overly experienced and not having very sharp knives, but we got it done! And it's good for ladies to do things like that. As we say here, "No fainting couches for these princesses."
And it's good for all of us to realize that for us to continue to live, at least as omnivores, something must die. A part of God's precious creation must die for us to live.
We are so thankful that God gave this creature (and another one shot by Princess the next evening) for us to eat, for good, healthy meat, and the thrill of patience paying off.
And we're thankful for the ultimate Life given so that we can truly live...in Him.