Limited Only by My Imagination [posted 2007] Story written by Jeffrey Allen Boop 8 /29 /07
Though I realized a strange city lay beyond the trees which separate those fields, creeks,
channels and rivers, I found comfort in the fact that they were similar to the trees which border
this realm. My domain is then surrounded by the beginning of the crop fields of the humble
farmers. These open fields allowed me a buffer, so to speak a distance by which I could view
in many directions at once. Perched in the highest trees, I could detect the onset of lurking
predators, my dastardly foes or other charging enemy. After crossing two or more of those fields
I turn southward, stepping carefully over the large trail there. photo by Jeffrey Allen Boop
Hiding in the shadows, scurrying from bush to bush I follow the direction of that major route.
I remain unseen until I come to a smaller path, a less traveled foot path which is much safer to
travel upon. I breath deep and fully here as my arms rise above my head to stretch my worn muscles.
This path casually leads me to where my weapons and provisions are stored by night.
Not long before, I was a newcomer to these lands. I was the greenhorn or “young-buck” myself.
Now though, after many days and a number of years exploring these rugged lands, I’ve gained
my bearings. I know the direction to head.
I would be following the lakes edge much of my trip and safely relied on that knowledge as a
true compass to find home again. With a change in gear, a different ruck sack, a weapon and
provisions I head off once more. There are no schedules to keep, nor records to maintain, my
only denominator of time is that sun gradually receding toward the western horizon. The only
notes taken are those on tiny, little mental scraps. Those fleeting thoughts which flow just
as easily as the breeze moves with the slightest gust of inspiration through our minds.
Stepping from my shelter I feel the sun’s warmth on my face but that comfort doesn't last long
as I turn eastward. A chill racks my figure as the shadow settles over my face while the late
September breeze cools my flesh. I lift my collar high as I step bravely into the deep green
forest. My cares and concerns of that indecent city beyond the other trees and it’s people are
steadily brushed away just as easily as the leafs of the tree limbs I move past. My senses tune
out those trivial matters as I focus upon my day’s journey. I keep a close watch searching for
my prey as I move stealthily through the well shaded hardwood forest.
With my hand ever ready on my weapon, my eyes dart back and forth covering the forest floor
looking for small game. I see the trails left by the numerous deer and elk which traveled these
lands. They were common. In fact, I am surprised that I hadn't spied one yet. My ears focus
themselves too, listening for any smaller critters scampering about. Though not entirely for my
sustenance I also listen carefully for the snap of any breaking twig that might predict the
oncoming of a beast or adversary. Those which just might prey upon me!
After crossing several foot paths very similar to the one that lead me to my sanctuary, I turn
from the lake. I must leave its consoling guidance to head deeper into other forests. After
stealthily passing that major route once more, I step into forests of widely spread evergreens.
Though there are no marked paths here I move easily as the underbrush thins out beneath the heavy
shade of the massive trees. It also affords a different tone or shade, nearly doubling my line
of site and increases my perspective catch of the day considerably.
Game birds, quail and pheasant are occasionally seen. As are possum, fox, then still smaller
game. Without the troubling bushes my pace doubles as the large trees actually form rows for me
to follow. Further north into these forests I eventually come upon the fence lines between this
domain and that of the farmlands of the earlier settlers and their kin.
The sun at my back insures that I am indeed still headed along my intended eastward route. Only
once these comforting evergreens become thinner do I turn southward toward the lake again.
I carefully look one way then the next as I step from between the trees and through the surrounding
bushes into this field. I must guard myself. Across these expanses I’ve spotted large, ravenous,
canine like creatures before. Wolfs and coyotes, too I wonder. After crossing that major path or
artery of travel for the third time today I eagerly step back into the thick forests of hardwood
with the numerous bushes and smaller trees scattered below. They may slow my progress but they are
more familiar to me and I appreciate the cover and comfort they provide.
The heavy underbrush scratches my legs and the thorns dig into my tender shins or calves beneath
my denims. I briefly contemplate why I hadn't chosen to wear my heavier foot wear and curse myself
for not having done so. Those with the leather wrapped high about my ankles, just for such
protection. No matter, I think with a grimace on my face while the shade of large trees becomes
thinner and thinner. I knew I'd be there soon.
With my rifle over my shoulder I walk closer and closer to the lake south of me. I'm now three
sections away on this waterway from where I’d started!
Here, high upon this steep hillside I know I must step carefully. For I could easily my footing
and tumble nearly fifty feet to my demise on the shoreline below.
After choosing the proper placement I could settle myself, rest and catch my breath. On these
slopes before I've not only seen those beautiful deer and game birds but also the wild cats that
stalk and sometimes feed upon them. I shall be cautious myself!
The gentle breeze from the lake cools my face as it carries the scents of the area to me. I
smell the foul odor of rotting fish along shore in one direction. The sickly sweet scent of
fermenting weeds from another direction and next the scent of leafs burning far in the distance.
Some expanse beyond even the location of my shelter, I suspect.
My eyes scour back and forth the beautiful colors of the orange, red and mauve of the sun
reflecting from the lake as it sets nearer and nearer to the distant horizon. From the corner
of my eye I spot their movement before my mind flows with their motion: My face turns to follow
a gaggle of geese migrating south for the winter. Nearer, to my other side, I turn quickly and
my mind jitters as I notice the frantic motion of a squirrel racing up a tree with surprising
speed and agility. A smile crosses my lips and I nod my head in agreement to the pure beauty
which surrounds me in this domain.
Sitting there, high above the lake, I lift my pant legs to pull thorns from my flesh before
scratching lightly at the abrasions. “Ar -r -r…” you can hear my frustrated breath as I rake my
finger nails over my wounded flesh. I’ll have to wear my higher leathers next time, I tell myself.
With the setting sun still affording me some light, I scour across the crystal like waters, there
is hardly any movement other than an occasional passing bird or the leafs in the branches about me
when I turn to reach into my heavy ruck sack. Digging about for a moment I retrieve my sustenance.
“Ah -h -h…” the birds can hear me sigh as I bite into the Hershey’s chocolate bar that I brought
with me on today’s journey. “Mm -mm -mm…” a grin spreads my lips as I savor the rich, sweet
chocolate treat realizing that if I follow this path along the lakes edge! It will take little
more than an hour, tops, to get home from this steep, leaf-covered hillside above Carter Lake.
A grin warms my cheeks and a twinkle shows in my eye realizing that the “wolfs and coyotes”
are only stray or loose Retrievers, Dobermans and Huskies. The deer often spotted were very
quick white tailed doe, their faun and those occasional elk are surprisingly enough the proud
bucks of the area. Pheasant, quail or other small game consisted of blackbirds and foolish robins,
then the other small game I tracked were merely foolish chipmunks, squirrels, etc… And the most
fearsome of adversaries I normally faced in these forests surrounding this lake was my father or
an older sibling!
With a BB gun slung over my shoulder I should head home soon, mom's probably got dinner nearly
ready and I do have both Algebra and Chemistry homework for school tomorrow. I smile as I get
to my feet. Looking about myself I know all of this will still be here tomorrow. I realize that
this realm could only be limited by my imagination... Which never seems to be lacking!
With warm wishes to all, Jeffrey Alan Boop