Those Simple Pleasures
The Golden Eagle
By Serge Mihaly
One of man’s greatest and most popular forms of communication is the written word. Thousands of hours have been spent by writers. Poets, journalists and even annoyed citizens to express views and opinions. We can attribute this right of expression to the sacrifices of our founding fathers.
These men who coddled America in their arms while it still was a child gave it the guidance and love that has brought this country to where it is today. We have come from the point of being an unknown, unwanted and undeveloped land to a well-respected, cherished and at times overdeveloped nation: a nation which has bred the shadows and substances of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. These few names must represent the untold, partially forgotten thousands of individuals who have made this country, this resting place of huddled masses, a land totally unlike any other in the world.
Among the many blessings we have been given is the too-often-taken-for-granted-blessing of Mother Nature; yet how many of us step out from behind our plastic desks and take the chance of wandering alone in the forest with only a compass and nature’s smiling face. Very few, if any.
We seem to be almost imprisoned in society ad its rapidly progressing ways. The reason why we find breaking this habit so hard is because we have fallen into a lifestyle of convenience and satisfaction. We no longer feed the old mare that draws our carriage, and we no longer grab our rifle and go out to hunt for our supper.
Hunting, camping and fishing have been practiced and accepted for thousands of years. Nature is something which can be enjoyed by everyone including through the annual harvest of deer to a gentle walk aside a lake and restless flocks of Canadian geese.
With Connecticut’s Housatonic State Forest, as in any state or national forest, there are provisions for skimobiles, campers, hunters, fisherman, hikers and even bird watchers. On December 17, the hillsides and valleys of the Housatonic State Forest were alive with the crunching of deer hooves breaking frozen snow, unseen birds cackling high in the branches of swaying trees, and lonesome racoons pawing a cold, clear spring looking for acorns, crayfish and frogs.
Every year prospective hunters fill out applications to hunt in selected areas of the state. By State law no hunter can hunt two consecutive years, therefore allowing for a rotation of hunters. The applications are randomly selected and only a privileged few are sent their licenses in the mail. The hunting season in Connecticut varies, depending upon the instrument used. A hunter is Connecticut may use a bow and an arrow, shotgun or a muzzle-loading firearm. Nowhere in Connecticut are rifles allowed in the seasonal hunting of deer. Although some residents voice occasional grumblings of dissatisfaction, overall Connecticut’s hunting system seems to be working well for the Nutmeg state and her hunters. Of course, no hunter likes the privilege of hunting in his own State taken from him in any way, shape or form; but to equally distribute the annual harvest of deer and secure the population at a reasonable level, no true sportsman or hunter will object.
As written in an editorial in Field & Stream, the vast majority of hunters are respectable and responsible men and women. But it seems only the lawbreaking few who shoot up ‘no trespassing’ signs and abuse hunting and conservation laws are presented as the American Hunter. The true American Outdoorsman is not a slob. He respects Mother Nature and her ways, and in this relationship, she also respects him. If they do not hold these viewpoints, man would have perished long ago.
At times Mother Nature is a cold, cruel vigilante, and at other times she is the warm, secure and protecting mother her name silently implies. Although rarely are the Timberwolves’ vicious dismemberment of an aging bull moose portrayed and publicized, this incident does occur as does the quiet birth of baby rabbits in a hare’s den.
Hunting, camping, fishing, snowmobiling, hiking and bird watching are just some of the many way we can enjoy Mother Nature. What we must remember, however, is that in whatever way we enjoy Mother Nature, we are not only responsible to ourselves and Nature but also to each other. No one man or woman owns the pine woods of Maine, the Great Lakes of Michigan or the sweeping and swaying wheat fields of Kansas.
These beautiful gifts from God are for all mankind to enjoy and conserve for future and present generations. If we are to reach these goals, then we must begin first as individuals, then as concerned groups. We must be people that work, but most importantly, people that care.