This is an old photo of my uncle’s dairy farm in Central Pennsylvania where my mother was born. I worked there for five summers and listened to him tell me tales of deer hunting on Stone Mountain, that rose up from the back of the farm. When I was sixteen, my parents took me there on Thanksgiving weekend so I could go hunting with him. In Pennsylvania the first day of deer season was the Monday after Thanksgiving.
It was freezing cold when we got up at 4:00 am to milk the twenty-six cows so we could be in the mountain before dawn. By 6:00 we were climbing that steep, snow-covered cold mountain. My Uncle told me to wait at the head of the hollow and he went back down to the pines to see if he could chase a deer up to me.
By 9:00, I was very cold as I waited. Nothing much was happening. About that time, I heard a deer coming up through the mountain-laurel. I was excited to see a six-point buck come into view. Without further details, I got my first deer on that cold mountain. It was an experience I will never forget.
Fresh snow crystals fall
Young hunter climbs cold mountain
One shot thinned the herd
Today at d’Verse, Frank asked us to write a Haibun* about a cold mountain. This prompt took me back almost sixty years to my teen years and my deer hunting adventure. I realize some of you may not be supportive of hunting but being raised with farming in my background killing animals for food was a common occurrence. In this situation, the farm fields in Big Valley fed the deer all summer. It was important to keep the deer herd thinned each year to prevent overpopulation.
Photo shared from the family album
* A Haibun is a short prose piece followed by a Haiku.
Back in the days before Covid-19, I went to a nearby nursing care facility to read my stories and play my guitar and sing. They enjoyed Folk songs from the sixties and gospel songs. One of the residents who came was a stroke victim. She had a difficult time speaking, but when we sang, she sang right along with us. It was a very moving experience to see this happening. This poem is for her.
Today at d’Verse, De Jackson asked us to spice up our Quadrille of 44 words with the word Salt or some form of it. I thought of the old song, Salty Dog Blues, that we used to sing in the dorm when I was in college a couple of years ago! Time for a bit of silliness to spice up the evening!
I finished this acrylic painting today. It is set in central Pennsylavania’s Kishacoquillas Valley, near the village of Allensville. My grandparents lived on this road. When I worked on my uncle’s farm during my teen years, I rode my cousin’s bicycle down this road which is about a mile across. Lots of good memories here.