It's an overcast Sunday. Vickie and I are loading our camping equipment & provisions for a week of deer hunting in the National Forest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Our camp is made and we've gathered enough firewood for the night from the deadfall in the woods. As dusk desends the sky begins to clear as the temperature falls. It will be way below freezing tonight.

We have brought along two bourbons. Vickie's new favorite - Buffalo Trace, and a new variation of an old standard - Wild Turkey's Russell's Reserve.
Vickie lights the fire and tends to supper as I pour the drinks and get the pipe ready. Night has fallen and darkness envelops out little campsite. The flames from our fire flicker and dance in the chill of the night air. The stars shine bright on this moonless night. Tonight time stands still. As from the dawn of mankind it is time for the hunter's ritual to begin.

A pipe of the finest Virginia flu cured gold tobacco is lighted and the smoke wafts heavenward. The smoke is of a binding nature between man and God. It is offered to the four points of the compass - to the four winds. It is offered to earth - the mother of us all. Lastly it is offered to the great spirit - to the very stars themselves. We pray for a good and bountiful hunt. That it may feed us and sustain us through the harshness of the winter months ahead.

Next the bourbons are consumed in the joy of life. The steaks are cooked over the open fire and eaten with emthusiasm along with potatos & snaps (that's green beans to you yanks) with bacon. Life is good.

Now the dancing begins. Kevin Costner was known as "Dancing with Wolves" in the film of the same name. Here in the Blue Ridge I am known by my ancient Seminole name - "Ya-Ya-Hey-Ho-Ha" - or "Dancing in Long Johns".

We retire to our tent. With the pre-dawn hours the hunt begins.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.