From where I sit, up high in a sturdy hemlock, the base of the tree in front of me looks like a perfect place for a hobbit to live.
The roots below are exposed and grow downward into the tannin-rich circles of deep black holes in the ground.
As the sun is just about to break over this wild swamp on a chilly Thanksgiving morning, I am transported to a middle earth setting straight out of The Lord of the Rings. The sky is a light yellow and the old maples are silhouetted against the soft sky. The green moss on the roots together with the lavender colors from the millions of wet decomposing maple leaves on the ground give the whole swamp an incredible aura of purple haze.
This year's high water table made my trek in here a bit soggy as I maneuvered through the darkness on my way to my favorite place to hunt Whitetail. The bucks in here are true swamp bucks; big and nasty with antlers protruding from their head in any random fashion. You never know what you will see.
The stillness of the quiet air is amazing. There is no way an animal will go undetected with this high vantage point I have. Even if they sneak under the entangled pucker brush, they will eventually make a mistake and step on that unseen stick and snap it, and the sound will easily travel to my ears.
That is exactly how I noticed the big grey coyote moving through the undergrowth. I watched him slide and slither through the morning light until he quickly disappeared. I stare at the last place I saw him, and wonder where he will spend the rest of the day.
The sun finally rises over the trees and like a bright flashlight illuminates the tips of everything behind me and adds some detail to the scenery. Suddenly, I hear the sound that gets me up and out of bed on these cold mornings; unmistakable chaos of thrashing hooves through deep water.
I look in the direction the sound is coming from, and see a big doe running away from something. The morning sidelight hits her directly as she crashes through the woods. Behind her, a big swamp buck with his nose to the wet earth is tracking her down.His impressive antlers are gleaming in the sunlight even from this distance. She is not ready for him now, but she will be soon, and the circle of life will continue in the swamp.
What a morning it has been.
I have to leave to help my wife prepare some food, take my kids to the football game and then spend the day with my family.
As I descend from my perch and feel the solid earth under my feet I pause and give thanks on this very special day.