My elk-hunting license says that I can hunt this weekend, but realistically, I cannot. And it is all because Hunter Me and Professor Me were not talking to each other.
See, Hunter Me forgot that Professor Me goes to a certain academic conference every November--he will be leaving on Wednesday the 14th. Hunter Me, off lost in the Pleistocene Era somewhere, did not check the academic society's web site.
He did not realize that because Thanksgiving comes earlier this month, the conference--always the weekend before T'giving--comes earlier too.
As a result, Professor Me needs this weekend to finish grading a folder of student quizzes and commenting on two folders of student essays and magazine articles. Students should get all of their work back before Thanksgiving break.
Last weekend was just a taste--finally locating elk twice on Sunday but always being just a little too far away or too late. Seeing a group of nine in the open at about 500 yards, wanting to pull off the big stalk--but having only fifteen minutes before it was too dark for legal shooting--that was typical.
There were other good moments--the hunting coyote--or the buck mule deer who was lounging in his bed at dusk, staring at me (maybe 200 yards away) but too cool to actually get up and run off. With the unaided eye, he was just another grey shape among scattered grey granite boulders.
Just for a few hours I was There, not Here, concerned only with the direction of the wind, the angle of the sun, the warning chatter of squirrels, and if it was possible to sneak up a fir-covered ridge without stepping into any of the patches of crunchy snow.
Next year, next year.