I got back in the truck a few days ago to find a water bottle knocked over and spilled on my phone. There is my excuse for the absence.
I’ve just went over the pictures from the trip a little bit while Ashley and Addair slept. The depressing fact is that a lot of the time, Instagram is actually better. But I’m proud of a few of these. I had some goals on the trip: One, to win the Ringneck Nation Top Dog Photo Contest. I had two photos win last year, of Boone and Gunner. It’s a weekly contest for South Dakota tourism that gets published and the dog owners have their choice of a prize. Here’s some of my top dogs for this year.
Secondly, I wanted to earn $100 gift cards for Cabela’s Outfitter gear and game shots in the field. Any photo that gets used in a catalog is worth $100. I told the hunters to stop being so fast, let me shoot them before they shoot the bird. It rarely happens. So I have a lot of unusable shots with folded birds and feathered skies. But still, I try.
Thirdly, I want to write some photojournalism or at least some Jack O’Conner-like outdoor writing. And if you’ve been reading my memoir, the next thing that happens is that I went to South Dakota on the trip last year, did a bit of thinking, and kicked up some birds in the corn. I drove 2000 miles across the country with just my dad and became a father myself not too much later. That part isn’t written yet.
I’m sitting here feeding Addair some crackers and buying some time until the photos upload. Ashley is sleeping in this morning with a cold. She was more than wonderful to let me take this splurge of a trip, which didn’t all the way make a lot of sense. Didn’t last year either, not by a long shot. She’s a good woman, I know that, and I’ll be proving that I know that for a good while yet.
There is an Archibald Rutledge quote I have found:
“Few human relationships are closer than those established by a mutual contact with nature, and it has always seemed to me that if more fathers were woodsmen, and would teach their sons to be likewise, most of the so-called father-and-son problems would vanish…”
“Providence gave me three sons, only about a year-and-a-half apart, and since it was not possible for me to give them what we usually call the advantages of wealth, I made up my mind to do my best by them. I decided primarily to make them sportsmen, for I have a conviction that to be a sportsman is a mighty long step in the direction of being a man. I thought also that if a man brings up his sons to be hunters, they will never grow away from him. Rather, the passing years will only bring them closer, with a thousand happy memories of the woods and field.”