With the back seat of the truck filled with kids and guns, we set off this afternoon to try to find me a buck to shoot.
An hour of "Are we almost there?" and we arrive at a spot my husband deems worthy of hunting.
Two Little Girls, swimming in adult-sized blaze orange vests, hopping up and down in excitement as we tell them repeatedly, "Hush! The deer can hear you!" We get our gear together and set off down a trail.
The Man of My Dreams and I walk along side by side, guns slung over our
shoulders, as our children wander around as silently as they are able. Which is, of course, not silent at all.
It's amazing how loud Two Little Girls can be when they are trying their best to be Very Quiet. The Oldest immediately gets hiccups. Littlest One whispers non-stop about every little bit of nature she sees. The Oldest tromps through every bit of mud she can find. The Littlest scuffs along in her boots, occasionally breaking out into a skip. And then she whispers to us about how quiet she is trying to be, and isn't she being so very quiet, and do we think the deer can hear her since she's being so quiet? If it is possible to whisper at the top of one's lungs, she's mastered the skill of it.
We sit after awhile, listening and looking. Littlest One curls up into a blaze orange ball in the dirt, tired from walking and enjoying a rest. The Oldest sits next to me, chewing a blade of grass and listening to the wind rush through the trees. That lasted about two and a half minutes. Then she announced, in that deafening whisper, "I'm restless." So she wanders up the trail a bit to examine a culvert where a seep of water is trickling through. Littlest One, fully rested after that two and a half minutes, sits up to scoop up handfuls of dirt and watch it trickle through her fingers. She then rolls around on the ground and rips her vest. "Oops!" she 'whispers'.
We get back in the truck and drive for awhile longer. Two Little Girls amuse themselves in the backseat by making silly noises and falling into fits of hysterical giggles that had me giggling along with them. We get out to walk again. The Oldest crunches through all the crusty, dried mud she can find. Littlest One pokes a stick into every snow bank on the side of the trail. As we turn to go back to the truck again (walking any distance is nearly impossible with two of the short-legged crowd along) they run to a fallen log and balance-beam their way across it. We arrive at the truck with two new 'walking sticks' that they toss into the bed. They will be added to the pile of walking sticks which has been acquired over the course of several years.
We give up on hiking. Two Little Girls play "statue" in the back seat. They are the noisiest, giggliest statues I have ever seen (or heard.) We proceed to drive... and drive... and drive. Bumpy, bouncy, washboard roads. Eventually they lay their heads against their windows and close their eyes.
No, we didn't find any deer. With two small children along, what we were doing could hardly be considered hunting. But it was sweet, and they had fun, and we were all together. I'm disappointed that I didn't manage to put meat on the table (yet) but there's still time, and in the meantime, we created some great memories.
And tomorrow, The Man of My Dreams and I will sit quietly on our mountain while Two Little Girls make themselves a breakfast of cold cereal and play as loudly as they wish - in the play room. Hopefully we'll have a bit more luck that way!