Black coffee, laughter, water & some sand in the...

Todd Duncan Tennyson

Well-known member
A gal at work saw some of my photos of my dog retrieving a bluebill. She asked me why I liked hunting, so I wrote this.

It’s about planning the day ahead, and watching the wind pick up.

About bringing in an extra load of firewood the night before, and checking the tides again.

It’s about the anticipation.

It’s getting up early, and hooking up the boat.

It’s not about Punching in on the time clock.

It’s black coffee & frost on the windshield.

An excited dog’s already in the truck & there’s a couple of good friends finally showing up.

Its shaking hands and slaps on the back, and a few bucks for gas from old buddies.

& we’re all wondering about conditions in the space where the big river meets the bay,
in the space between now and the end of the day.

It’s the faint A.M. Radio crackles in the warmth of the truck, on a dark road lined with tall firs swaying. It’s listening to the report of what it’s like at sea & crossing the bar’s an impossibility.

It’s about having some guts to even begin.

It’s not gambling, but its full of uncertainties.

There’s darkness and the smoke from an old 2 stroke, and you can feel the bite of the wind and rain on your face.

You are on your way to a sacred place.

The dog’s on the bow, black ears flapping like gulls wings.
Silhouettes against the floodlights, as we ride on the river through what’s left of the night.
We’ll hunt the incoming tide.

Its about setting the deeks in an impossible chop.
About leaving enough rope on the anchor line so the boat won’t break free from the shore this time.

It’s the sound of the water thumping on the beach as a freighter passes by.

& it’s a rose colored sunrise.

It’s long pauses for thought and the sounds of the water, and reflections in the faintest morning light.

It is time that has no time, because it lasts forever (at least in my mind.)

It’s hurried and hushed readying for the first passing shots at birds.

They’re upon us in an instant. With a volley in the valley where the river makes its final turn.

Hitting the water as the dog sets out upon them in an unstoppable, instinctive and ancient way, as dogs have always done for their men,
with guns.

Returning to the shore with the bird and with the praises of all attending.

This is as good as it gets.

In a day of wind and rain,
black coffee, laughter, saltwater & some sand in the eyes.

It is 80 lbs of soaking wet dog in your lap on the whole way back.

As the tide turns and the water lays flat again, just to let you go home one last time.

It’s meeting old friends from seasons past at the old boat launch.

And reminiscing on dogs and guns and boats and ducks.

I guess it’s really about so much,
least it is to me.