This past weekend, instead of turning on the TV one evening, I just laid back on the couch, relaxed and began replaying the previous year’s outdoor events in my mind. Without any lights on, I lay in the darkness with vivid flashes of colors of the year’s events triggering a whole lot of memories.
It made me realize that it wasn’t the flashy lights at Christmas that provide so much eye catching color as it was the beautiful colors that I had seen during my adventures throughout the year. Those adventures started during January when I spent some time trout fishing on the warmer days of the month.
There were days when I’d stand on a snow-covered bank casting my ultralight rod baited with wax worms, waiting for a trout to snatch the offering and make a powerful run the length of the pool like several 16- to 20-inch ones had done before.
The fat, firm-bodied rainbows would somersault into the air, revealing their silvery flanks carrying brilliant red stripes the length their sides. The colors were exceptionally brilliant against a snow white background as I photographed and released them.
As that slipped from my mind, the brilliant greens of the forest understory during late April entered my thoughts. For a few weeks, I was trekking in and out of numerous hollows scouting turkeys for the upcoming spring gobbler season.
As the days continued to warm slightly, plants such as ferns, trilliums and especially the leeks quickly covered the warmer southern slopes with mats of green. The varying shades of green let me know that spring was truly here.
They provided a perfect photo background for a pair of beautiful longbeards that I harvested during the month of May. The birds appeared to be a shiny black and brown in the early morning light as they made their approach, but the bronze-green iridescence on their plumage caught my eyes as I knelt beside them. The wings were dark and boldly barred with rusty white. The crowning jewel was the truly ugly, bare-skinned head and neck that almost seemed pretty due to the brilliant red/blue coloration.
My thoughts seemed as though they were just taking place as I replayed every moment, from start to finish, in my head. Some would hold my attention span a bit longer than others due to all the details I recalled. As we all know, some outdoor events can be somewhat abbreviated, while others are long and dragged out.
Eventually, I’d move on as I recalled each one thoroughly. Summer was the time when I fished for bass, walleyes and muskies with shades of colors varying from gold to tan and green. Of course, each was caught on a variety of baits of varying colors.
Then there was the fall season when numerous hunting seasons overlap. It seemed for a couple of weeks that I’m archery hunting, then I’d turn right around and it would be early season muzzleloader hunting. I’d be either perched in a tree stand looking down at the ground covered in leaves of varying hues of red, orange or brown or sitting in a blind along a field’s edge where the tall grass is a tawny brown.
The seasons slip by quickly and I move into the rifle bear and deer seasons. It’s a time when the scenery can vary slightly from one day to the next. In either season, you might be hunting in a forest where the ground is covered with dull brown leaves, and the trees will just be silhouettes that appear black/gray in color.
The following day could have a fresh coat of snow on the ground that brightens the understory and makes it come to life. We as hunters like that as it reveals those animals that are usually well-camouflaged in their natural environs.
Finally, it’s the time where the memories end for another year. Possibly I recall walking up on a black bear I just shot, whose fur glistens in the sunlight as it lays on a bed of fallen brown leaves. Or maybe it’ll be the enormous buck I’ve been after all season whose chocolate brown antlers look even larger against a snowy background.
Yes, it’s nature that provides me with the vast array of colors that make for many hunting and fishing memories throughout the year. The colors give new meaning to those memories which will have me right back out there enjoying the outdoors for seasons to come.