by Jill Joines Christensen
It was 1979. We had just moved in together. He had bought a newspaper and was combing through the classifieds.
“What are you looking for?” I asked.
“Hunting leases.” He frowned and circled an ad. I waited. “I’m going to look at this one tomorrow," he said. I must have still looked blank, because he looked at me then and explained, "to hunt. I pay, they let me hunt."
"Can I go?"
"What? Oh. Sure."
The next morning, the Firebird's wide tires crunched on the gravel. He cut the engine and at first I heard nothing.
"Quiet," he said. "Let's get out and wait a minute."
It had poured rain overnight and where the gravel ran out the red clay began. We both looked at my slick-soled loafers and, introvert that he is, he just said, "Well."
And then I heard "it." You know the sound. The country. The woods. The air, wet road, trees. The green.
He grabbed me when I slipped on the clay and, with a sigh, slung me over his shoulder like nothing. "Tomorrow I get you some boots," he whispered, "Now be quiet."
We reached a sandy part of the road and he set me down easy. Ah, that's better, I thought, and leaned my head back, eyes closed, to enjoy the clean air.
I felt him move next to me and looked in time to see him chop his palm slightly toward the ground. Instinctively, I knew that meant not to move. Again he barely moved, but he clearly wanted me to look where he was looking. At first, I saw nothing. Then with a twitch of an ear, a brown deer with huge eyes leaped into motion and disappeared into the trees.
He turned and looked at my awed expression and I could see he was pleased at my reaction.
"Summer colors," he grinned.