Into the War Zone

Into the War Zone

Autumn is here. At least that’s what my eyes are telling me. Bright yellows, oranges, and reds speckle the hillsides. Autumn is here, but it feels like summer. The warm sun is making my skin glisten with sweat. I’m glad I packed a pair of shorts.

We spent the morning in the heart of our great state learning about cranberry farming. I’ve lived in Wisconsin my whole life – traveled to every end of it – and had never seen a cranberry bog. Actually, I probably had seen a bog without even knowing it. The tart red fruit can hide itself pretty well under a tangle of thick vines.

Early afternoon I found myself carrying two paddles down to the boat landing. As soon as we saw the “Canoe Rental” sign we ditched our effort to go hiking and headed to the water instead. Our vessel had no sooner slid into the marsh when three gunshots cracked above us. Two dogs exploded into the water to retrieve their prize. Our peaceful marsh was now a war zone.

The tepid water lapped around our canoe as we gently paddled through the lilly pads. Lifeless ducks bobbed around us as the hunters stood ready, camouflaged by the reeds. I could almost hear them cursing under their breath but we had a right to be there as well. I’ve been around hunting long enough that the gunshots didn’t bother me. Call me crazy, but paddling into a marsh on Opening Day can be pretty exhilarating.

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