Saturday, October 1, 2011

October... My Favorite Time of Year

With the month of September now shrinking in the rearview mirror, my favorite month is here! There is so much to do and see in October, I wish it could last 120 days instead of just 31. Fall colors will be at their peak soon offering outstanding opportunities to paint and gather reference photos. Fishing is prime as some trout species are showing brilliant spawning colors and runs of fall steelhead are forging upstream. Fall mushrooms are popping up everywhere with my absolute favorite, the sheephead, topping my list of fungal treasures. And lastly, the bow hunting season opens today in Pennsylvania, which means I’ll be spending a considerable amount of time afield.

I love bow hunting for whitetails. It’s just that simple. The craft of true woodsmanship is quickly becoming a lost art. Keen observation, interpretation of deer sign, and anticipating the daytime movements of a creature that is active mostly at night is not easy. Doing it precisely enough to get within easy bow-range can be downright maddening. Then there is the challenge of keeping a year’s worth of nerves and anticipation under control as the moment of truth arrives… well… as I said before. I love it!

There are other benefits to sitting very still in the October deer woods. As the threat of winter snows come with the cooling night air, animal activity reaches a fevered pitch. Coyotes and foxes pass by on their daily patrols. Turkeys cluck and yelp and they scour the forest floor for abundant fall edibles. On the really cold days, tundra swans can be heard as the first squadrons begin to head south. And not a season goes by without an owl trying to land on my leg!

Yes, my October schedule is jammed full of time in the field. So if you don’t hear from me, it’s not because I’m ignoring you. To paraphrase the late Ned Smith, there’s a sign on the studio door that reads, “Gone for the Day.”


Peter Brown said...

Sounds like an enviable lifestyle Jim. I hope it inspires some more wonderful paintings.

Jim Bortz said...

Yes Peter. On top of all I want to do this month, I'll be heading to Easton, MD in November for the Waterfowl Festival... so I have to keep painting too. Life is good :)

Jeff said...

After the festival you ougt to head east on rt.50 and visit Ocean City our favorite vacation place.
It's not to far and you could get some good seafood. Maybe even see a good subject to inspire you to paint.
Just a thought.