Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Dove Hunting", an old essay

Was just picking up and found this old writing exercise dated December 14, 1986, when I was 18 years old. Please forgive the excessive runon sentences at the beginning and some of the overly flowery language.. I may see about cleaning this up later on, oh and incidentally this was transcribed from a TYPEWRITTEN PAGE. OMG yes we used TYPEWRITERS still when I was 18.. anyhow.. enjoy!

Dove Hunting

There we stood in the midst of the field, pausing for a moment as we trudged slowly across the muddy ground. The cool, damp September air covered my body with its chilly caresses, tightening my skin and muscles ever so slightly with every soft breeze that passed in the darkness. Dawn was just beginning to shed its first coppery glow over the horizon, penetrating the layers of mist that hung over the field like filmy veils of damp gauze, and casting long deep shadows from the dead cornstalks that had thrust themselves up from the soft earth in vivid green life just months before, and were now merely dry brown skeletons rotting fiber. Everything was wet with rain and dew, causing smells of dampness and rot to fill the air, reminiscent of a pile of brown dead grass left to sit in the corner of the backyard for too long; the water caught the slowly increasing sunlight, which flashed forth in a thousand tiny beads of silver light.

In the still-prevalent darkness, the only sounds were the sucking and squeaking of booted feet in soft mud when we walked, and the irritating, buzzing hum of the ever-abundant and ever-eager mosquitoes, all hungry for our life's-blood the nourish their next vampiric generation, Deep Woods Off notwithstanding. My gun was heavy and awkward in my short, skinny arms, and the mud pulled at the soles of my boots, making my progress somewhat clumsy; it's hard enough to be graceful in a dead furrowed cornfield without having on heavy rubber boots that stick to the ground every time you take a step. I had shotgun shells in every pocket of my vest as well, weighing me down further, tugging at my shoulders, tugging at my pants, while we walked into this predawn field to wait for the doves to come.

As more light began to shine upon the bent stalks of corn, giving everything the dull orange cast of firelight and driving away the grey of early morning as the mist began to fade, the many droplets of water sparkled and flashed through all colors of the spectrum: tiny jewels of red, orange, green, and blue caught the eye from all directions, each blazing with its own rich cool fire. The buzzing hum of mosquitoes began to be accompanied by the welcome whirr of dragonflies, whole delicate cellophane wings shivered in the newborn sunlight that dripped from them in a rain of warm radiance and gleamed from their golden metallic bodies. 

The dragonflies danced all around us, up and down and across my vision, darting and arcing in all directions, singing their delicate humming song as they performed their elaborate aerial ballet among the damp and leafy brown masts of the cornstalks, a dance of death for the tiny mosquitoes whom they hunted with such incredible speed and precision. Soon the mosquitoes bothered us no longer, and as the sun climbed higher into the sky, dispelling the shadows and slowly drying the dew, the dragonflies began to disappear as well, their delicate song replaced by the soft whisper of the breeze in the grass and the sweet whistlings and gentle cooings of birds as they began to be aroused from slumber.

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