With Thanksgiving done and the prospect of parades and visits with Santa at hand, society tells the child in all of us the best of the year still lies somewhat ahead, but I’ve always thought the best things happen in November.
In November, deer season is open and the abundant small game that flourishes here is nearly all available to hunt. Squirrels and rabbits can be chased anywhere a .22 or a shotgun may be fired and, while there are lots more houses around the countryside now than there were when I was a boy, there’s still nearly no end to the opportunity. Duck, goose and dove seasons are still coming and going, and quail season is open through the end of March. The South’s signature game bird, quail, are making a quiet comeback here and there. Far fewer people keep bird dogs anymore but you can still find legitimate experts who know how it was and can guide us back to how it again may one day be. It would be a shame for a boy to grow to adulthood in the outdoors without, from time to time, experiencing the lightning bolt of adrenaline that comes from surprising a wild covey underfoot in a quiet field.
Even in Mississippi, the summer’s heat has abated for good and the fishing has greatly improved. Crappie and bass are feeding up for their long winter’s sojourn and cool days afloat lie at hand for any outdoorsman not already somewhere deep in the woods.
You can see Christmas from here and leftovers from Thanksgiving still populate the refrigerator’s shelves. Streets are decorated and Halloween’s last pumpkins are mostly gone. Outside, on a clear night, you can hear the wind blowing down from Canada and feel the gravity of the faraway stars above. Away from city lights the band of the Milky Way paints a picture in the sky deep enough to spark any imagination.
Migrating geese cross the night sky in kites without string. Before they were on every golf course and pond in our region just a glimpse of one was magic, and the sight of a winged V high above and headed South can still stir dreams of unseen places far away. Christmas, no doubt, has lots of spiritual treasures and happy times in store, but November alone is enough to remind me of our blessings.
Kevin Tate is V.P. of Media Productions for Mossy Oak in West Point.