First off, why is Molly posting about Jeremiah’s hunting trip? Jeremiah’s busy cutting up chamois (mountain goat) so he contracted with a ghost writer for this one. The price? A ginger beer, and the stipulation that I get to write it my own way.
Early Saturday morning a group of 3 guys headed out to the Canterbury side of the southern Alps, parked their trucks, and mountain biked in to a flat river valley to set up camp.
The weekend forecast was amazing for the beginning of winter–clear skies and hardly a breeze. The only catch was that it was COLD. Well, cold for NZ, dipping to perhaps 20 degrees F (-7 C). Cold enough to make impressive frost on the tent and freeze the guys’ damp boots solid. In the morning they peered out at the frigid valley willing the sun’s rays to reach the tent just a bit faster. Nothing doing. That little star up on the mountain shoulder is where Jeremiah spotted his chamois.
Riding a mountain bike with a full pack is no mean feat–or so they tell me. Only meat fiends would try it (like the pun Mom?). I guess biking beats walking the same distance, both in time and effort. It took an hour to bike in, where walking would have taken 2 and a half, precious time saved for stalking animals.
Look at those mountains–Naked! The animals still take quite a bit of effort to find. Jeremiah marked out his route in red going nearly to the top on this photo.
If only I had video taped the version of the stalking story that Jeremiah told Milo…. “We got up EARLY in the morning, in the dark, and drove the green car to the mountains. Then we got on our bikes and pedaled, pedaled, pedaled (arms working in circles to indicate biking) to where we set up our tent. Then I climbed, and climbed, and climbed some more (panting with effort in the story retelling). I sat down and got out my binoculars (hands to eyes indicating binoculars), and looked and looked. I saw a chamois WAY over in the rocky scree…I sneaked, sneaked, sneaked (whispering, shoulders hunched).” I’ll spare you the shooting and retrieving parts, but Milo listened spellbound to the whole recounting of the tale.
In case you didn’t know what a dead chamois looks like…. I’m inclined to feel sorry for it. Goats are smart, mischievous, endearing creatures. Jeremiah says it was an even match, because the goat has 9x better eyesight than humans, and he had to climb into its territory to find it. He didn’t waste anything, at least–all the meat came home as well as the head and the hide.
Doesn’t the world look different under the blazing sun? For some unknown reason, hunting men do not share tents. Three guys, three tents. Maybe they snore? Probably they stink? Perhaps they’re sketched out seeing each others’ undies?
At least they can share a camp fire! It’s amazing how much comfort that warm blaze brings on a cold dark evening after a long day hunting.
Monday morning first thing Milo wanted to go out in the garage and inspect Daddy’s chamois. Or at least the head with the skin still attached, laid out on the floor looking all deflated.
“Where are it’s insides?” Milo queried.
Jeremiah pointed to the bags of meat hanging from the rafters.
“It has dead eyes” he pronounced.
“Yup Milo,” I said. That’s very observant for a three-year-old, I think.
Well now Milo, do you want the physical answer or the philosophical answer? Jeremiah provided the start of the philosophical answer. “So we can eat it.”
“It can’t talk any more,” Milo continued, but without any real trace of remorse in his tone. “Where are it’s feet?”
“I left them up on the mountain,” Jeremiah explained.
“Why you don’t want head on your wall?” he asked, looking at me. I guess he’s listening when I tell other people that as long as Jeremiah doesn’t come home with any head mounts, I’m happy.
“It can go in my room,” Milo offered. We hesitated, and he must have taken that to mean Jeremiah might not want to share it. His next offer: “You can have some, and I can have some.”
I guess for kids whatever they grow up with as ‘normal’ is their normal in lots of different dimensions, including wall decor.