VAN GOGH'S UGLY BABY
I'm back at WSSP. I gotta get back in the woods. And in that regard, let me recap the season.
Opening day found Milawyer and I putting our pants on at Paradise Pond, loading up Shirley and heading for Diamond Dave's. The weather was perfect, 45 degrees, calm, the trees still bare. Nothing gobbled from the roost. We were set up behind the hoarder's trailers, that were now just a pile of wet garbage. Since he'd died, and stopped feeding the turkeys the spot had cooled off. We headed down the ridge, the river on our left to ramp valley. We never heard a gobble.
Around 8am we decided to head back to the car. Most guides would have a pick up truck. I have an '02 Sebring convertible. It suits us fine. We throw the shot guns into the trunk and head for the cemetery. About 100 yards into the woods I scratched out a couple of calls and got a response. Yes! They were close. I pointed out a big tree for Milawyer and I held back. Once he was settled in I called again. They roared back. This is what I wait all winter for.
The auditory aspect of turkey hunting cannot be adequately described, only experienced. I've spent entire mornings trading vocalizations with a big tom, never laying eyes on him and can consider it one of the most satisfying 3 hours I could ever spend. But this morning they were in view in minutes. 4, maybe 5, birds were waddling quickly in our direction, gobbling vigorously. At 50 yards they held up behind a deadfall, in half-strut. I tried to slow my heart, taking a deep breath and settling the sights on a spot I hoped a red, whit and blue head would appear. BOOM!......then another.
Milawyer had a closer shot and took it. The birds busted right, on the slow run. I got on one and pulled the trigger. Much to my surprise, and delight, he went down. "Are you done shooting!" I yelled, before running to the bird. I got the OK and ran to the bird, stepping on his neck, as he clawed and flapped in the dry leaves. Milawyer had missed. He kicked the dirt and looked for feathers or blood. Nope. "I can't believe I could of missed." I've heard (and said) that more times than I'd like to admit. It's amazingly easy to miss a giant turkey with a powerful shotgun. Those feathers are like armor plate. But with a bird down before 9am on opening day, we both felt good. Breakfast.
Yesterday Shewho and I went to the Met. This week as been interesting to say the least. It started with the car blowing up. Then I had my little artworld envy meltdown, on Monday night, after my frustrations and jealousies boiled over. Well, after that Shewho and I were both a little shell shocked. The next trial by fire was another large gallery opening for a famous mother of a friend of mine. Once again the work was great, the company was pleasant and the wine flowed. A big fancy dinner followed and i mingled as much as is humanly possible. This time I kept a smile on my face the entire time. It still hurts.
But in the subway, on the way back to the hotel, I asked Shewho to ease off the hunter stuff. "Just introduce me as an artist. These people don't respond well to the hunting." Well, I probably said it too sharply and Shewho did not take the request lightly. To anyone who was in that car on the N train I apologize. I'm sure we got a little loud. But by now we seem to be used to arguing in public, over my issues. Thankfully it all got resolved before the sandman came.
And last night I sat in a crowded audience, at a uptown gallery, to watch Shewho and two brilliant artworld figures trade Golub stories and insights before an adoring crowd. I'd seen her lecture before and i was impressed. But this was on another level entirely. And I'm not just saying this because I want to stay in her good graces (which I do) nor because I know I can be an asshole and am warning her in advance (which I am). NO. I was so truly impressed by her in this context, that I am currently making the I AM NOT WORTHY avatar. Since I don't have a cell, mine is made out of tape and plastic bags. But.......before all this happened we saw Van Gogh's ugly baby painting at the Met. You gotta see it. It will change your life. That guy sure could paint the hell out of a baby. How could he have ever been obscure?