Nature is sometimes noisy. Thousands of birds and insects all crying out to get laid at the exact same time, the urge to reproduce while the sun warms the earth and plants bloom like madness. The sights, smells, all chaotic and desperate.
Sometimes nature is silent. In the dead of winter the snowflakes deaden any sound, muting the world down to your own heartbeat as you try to breathe silently in the stillness. The cold numbs your nose, and if it weren’t for the crushing pain of cold as you wait in your hide, you’d feel nothing at all.
In this silence, the “click” of a rifle safety going from “safe” to “fire” is a very loud, and unnatural sound. So the old Mauser flag safety got worked gently to the side with the firing hand. Things seem to get even quieter when the sights are lined up on the big bull. Whether nature really does pause while the hunter lines the sights or if his ears simply get ignored is irrelevant.
The rifle bucks hard into the shoulder, the thunder of the report echoes. The bull in the distance takes two steps and drops. The three motion working of the bolt chambers another round, the spent casing carefully pocketed to serve again in the future. The insurance shot is not needed, and the safety moves to “safe.”
The smell of butchering a large animal is distinctive. Blood and fat. Too late in the season to worry about flies, there is no need to spread ground black pepper on the meat.
Later the sounds of life come again. The sound of a knife slicing root vegetables, the hiss of the pressure canner as the animal is turned into food that will store well into next year. The idle chatter of the family as one day ends with the beginning of a new night. The fragrance of bay leaf and rosemary flavoring the stew dim reminders of the raucous scents of summertime.
There will always be work to do. Another lot of bullets to mold. Another garden to plant. Another hunt for the pot. Another bedtime story to read. Enjoy it while you can, pass on what you can while you can. Tomorrow will start with another day, the scent of strong black coffee.