The end of another season

circa 2002

Murphy our Springer Spaniel and I went for a long run along the Waugh’s River today. Cool frosty temperatures but who could resist a good walk with a trusty friend. Now that November is over Murphy and hundreds of other recreational walkers can return to their daily exercise. The problem for walkers in November is that Murphy and his mates need to wear orange to draw attention that they are dogs or people and not a winter’s meat supply.

The 2002 deer season is now over and hopefully it went by in your neck of the woods without mishap or tragedy. Our local white tail population can now return to their favorite frozen field or quiet wood and prepare for the annual winter challenges of deep snow, frozen food and above all the need to avoid the coyotes.

Don’t get wrong I am not against hunting, in fact I trapped, ferreted or shot my share of game over the years. My idea of a great Sunday dinner is not limited to what you can buy at Foodland. If you want to invite me over for a rabbit or venison pie, pick up the phone and I will be there right after the NFL game on Sunday.

My worry is basic health and safety, avoid getting mistaken for Bambi’s Dad.

My worry extends to Murphy and his canine buddies. I regconise that recreational walkers and the hunters can both share our fresh air, but I tend to err on the safe side.

On the other side of the coin, statistics have shown that since a hunter education program became mandatory in Nova Scotia in 1980, the number of accidental shootings and fatalities has decreased by 50 per cent. But walking through the woods or along the river in November stills causes me to worry.

In order to avoid this predicament this year my wife and I decided to take a holiday during the annual deer hunt. We were prepared to skip the early morning sounds of rifles. We didn’t mind if we missed the daily ritual of pickup trucks travelling 3 miles an hour down the back roads of Colchester County with both of the front windows open, even though it is usually cold at 6.45 in the morning.

No, we would give that pass this year and pay a visit to our son who lives in England.

From our perspective the benefit of having family and friends in another country is that it provides one a great excuse to leaves one’s backyard and experienced life from someone else’s viewpoint.

What we quickly discovered was that England today is as preoccupied with the problems that plague the US and the rest of the world, the real danger of possibly being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We started the trip off by flying to Newark New Jersey and spending a night before we traveled on to England. I am retired therefore I have had plenty of time to watch Law & Order reruns so the attraction of going over the river to New York City for dinner during our layover was out of the question. We thought of taking in the nightlife of downtown Newark but since I don’t know Tony Soprano we gave that thought a pass as well. Pizza delivery to your Hotel room is the best idea when your options are limited.

The trip went well but the endless waits at the airport in New York and London were simply too long and very tiresome. Today airport security means that one has to be prepared to take off one’s shoes or empty one’s carry on luggage so that it can be scanned for toxic chemical by detectors and new age technologies.

On the bright side the long delays waiting for your plane to arrive does provide one time for thought and reflection. One might ponder why are thousands of people in this airport today? Where are they going? Could they be the reason for increased security? Do they pose a threat simply because they’re foreign? Everybody appeared suspicious to me, I couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad guys and no one was wearing an orange coat or hat, they all just blended in. I longed for home, the peace and quiet of North Colchester.

We returned home safely and I avoided the deer season and all of the world’s bad guys in the same month.

In doing so I learned a few lessons about world security issues but heck learning new things, having new experiences isn’t that why I travel away from home anyway.

Quietly Retired on Waugh’s River

Edward Sampson

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