Thomas McGuane’s words resonate in a few ways. For me, upland hunting is an unique metaphor. On one hand, it represents autumn. The crisp air, crunch of dried leaves, an earthy patchwork of colors, and the faint smell of wood smoke in the air. Beyond the time of year, upland hunting is the venue in which a language is spoken between a person and a dog.
We are working together, reading each other, watching for a gesture, a quick flash of eye contact, and ultimately we are celebrating together. Some may be skeptical and dismiss these actions as behavioral, the by-product of repetitive conditioning. What they don’t know is that they have trained me equally as much as they have been trained. And it’s not so much training, as it is unlocking a deeply inherent aspect of their character.