Spring 2016 Feature Section: Over~Unders, That Time It Rained

By on January 8, 2016
Upland Almanac's Spring 2015 Feature Story: Over-Unders

Illustration by Daniel Porter

Excerpts from Over~Unders, That Time It Rained

Excerpt from We Almost Didn’t Know What to Do with Ourselves by Jerry Dennis…
Some of us thought we should try anyway. Life is short, and so is bird season. Why waste a day?

But mature heads prevailed. They prevail more and more often, these days. And it really did look hopeless – unrelenting, roof-thrumming, an all-day gloom settling into the corners. Even the dogs thought so. They stayed curled on their rugs in front of the fireplace, pretending to sleep.

Dave said, “‘If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.’ Mark Twain said that.”

Ron said, “I thought he said, ‘It ain’t the heat. It’s the humidity.’” We made another pot of coffee. Whipped up a second breakfast, too. Eggs over easy, venison sausage, slabs of homemade bread so thick we had to hammer them into the toaster. Sat elbow-to-elbow at the long table and went at it. Pass the salt, pass the hot sauce. Pass the sausage before I die of yearning. Discussed memorable breakfasts of the past. Lumberjack and French country. Blueberry pancakes. Somebody mentioned Steve’s mountain-high apple pie served with a wedge of aged cheddar, and everybody got dreamy.

Excerpt from Autumn in the Wings by Jon Osborn…
It was a morning for Wellies and wool. Unlike those frosty, autumn dawns when the withering flora is transformed into sparkling bayonets, a fine drizzle had softened the landscape. In stark contrast to the somber skies and coffee-and-cream constitution of the Rabbit River, a muted patchwork of fallen leaves blanketed the forest floor. The conditions combined to create an idyllic morning for a walk in the woods, as long as you didn’t mind getting a little damp.

Parking the car at the edge of a cut cornfield, I tugged on boots, pulled a coarse-knit sweater over my head and topped off the ensemble with a watershedding, wide-brimmed hat. Gazing
past the fields to the tree line beyond, I considering the situation at hand. This was heady stuff for a kid barely old enough to drive a car or handle a gun unsupervised.

Excerpt from A Tale of Two Dogs (and Four Men) by Robert DeMott…
October 18-20, 2012. My hunt journal says it was one of those “just wet-enough” times when scenting conditions were “perfect” and it seemed as though “anything could happen.” And did. Over three days in the upland woods, one era ended and another began. That seems to be the way of the world, sporting and otherwise.

For Ruffwood Meadow and Setter Hills Madison, aka The Setter Gals, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. Ryman-style tricolors, they share common ancestors, including Alder Run, Shadbush and Crooked Stump breeding, but are otherwise as different as day and night, sun and storm. One was in eclipse, the other in ascendency. And therein hangs a
symbolic little upland tale.

Excerpt from Option Number Three by Glen Blackwood…
Waking up to a percussionist playing on a metal roof might be romantic if you are lying next to your lover in the Caribbean. On the second day of grouse camp, in a century-old cabin, however, it is a depressing rhythm. Spaces from lost chink in the log wall allowed a chilling draft to blow across the room. Pulling my blanket tight to my body, I rolled over, dozing until my spaniels Grace and Laurel became restless wanting their morning relief.

Hupping them at the screen door, I released the pair outside. The morning was dark, like late November, instead of the expected color and crispness of early October. I watched them from the porch. The dogs quickly cleared themselves and returned, opting for shelter instead of the typical romp to the river and a morning swim. Even they understood it was to be an indoor day.

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