Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 5, 2012

Battle lines drawn for Election Day and deer season

By Terry Wooten

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The famous leaves have blown off.

I'm standing in a parking lot

off the freeway

watching the sunrise

over Osceola County.

It's a purple dawn

with stars glittering     like frost on God's windshield.

The horizon rim is blaze orange.

Soon it will be firearms deer season.

Death and deer are tiptoeing

through the noisy leaves.

The colors are shadows of browns,

grays and hang-tough greens.

Weak sun rays slant a golden

haze through bare trees.

I was born in November.

The sights and smells

set off primal memories.

My nose gets sentimental

over the cold and decaying,

or it could be allergies.

With Election Day tomorrow and firearms deer season opening ten days later, we'll be experiencing some of the most divisive battles of the year; Republicans vs. Democrats, deer vs. hunters, and hunters vs. anti-hunters.

I have a friend who was having trouble with deer eating grapes and plants in his garden. I told him to take a radio out there, and tune it to Rush on talk radio. That will keep the deer away. He said he didn't know deer were Democrats.

I deer hunt, but as I grow older I tend to root for the deer, and I have empathy for those who don't believe in hunting. Death isn't a small thing even to a buck, and especially a 63-year-old man standing over it. I always say thanks to a deer if I get one. I don't know if any spirit hears me, or if the buck cares, but I say thank you anyway.

Some scientists and philosophers say that deer don't reason or remember. Most people feel the same way about people who vote differently than them.

I can't think of one political road sign, bumper sticker, or propaganda advertisement on TV that's ever changed my opinion on how to vote. However, if a business owner plasters their place with political signs I don't like, I take my shopping or appetite elsewhere.

In the past I've put political signs up on Stone Circle property along U.S. 31. They usually got vandalized.

Where we live is surrounded by woods and overgrown fields. The deer and other animals are constantly walking around our house.

The woods have a rhythm the deer belong to. They walk like good dancers. I never get tired of watching deer. That's more than I can say about most politicians. I wish after tomorrow all this mean spiritedness would end, but I know it won't.

Betty Dunham (81)

I wasn't around in 1920

when women got the right to vote.

Men thought they were hotshots,

bosses of the house.

Wives were to clean house

and take care of babies.

And there were a lot of babies

before birth control

was available.

Grandmother was one of the first women

in the township

to sign the book

for the right to vote that first year.

A lot of men got mad

and called women bad names.

Strong women said, "Do whatever

you darn please,

but until you straighten up

you're not getting any food cooked."

I wish

girls today would remember

how important it is to vote.

Vivian McLachlan (1900-1998)

Men are taken by

a kind of fever

at this time of year.

When they're not deer hunting,

all they do is talk about it

around my kitchen table.

They gossip over every move

the deer make.

The poor deer

don't have any privacy.

Winn Edwards is worst of all.

Often times I just turn down

my hearing aid,

but the other day

I overheard him say that he's in love

with this one pretty doe

and what he wouldn't give

to be hers for a while.

That's going a little too far

if you ask me.

He's a good, decent man,

but I think he's killed and ate

so many bucks

they're coming alive inside him,

making him say crazy things.

Maybe I'm getting too sentimental

in my old age,

because it's as if they worship the deer

in a strange old way,

though they'd never openly admit it,

and most people wouldn't

understand anyway.

Still it bothers me,

how on Sundays the church bells

are sandwiched between

rifle shots echoing.

Poet Bard Terry Wooten has been performing and conducting writing workshops in schools for 28 years. He is the creator of Stone Circle. Learn more about him at