It’s late February and I hear the click of my seasonal odometer rolling over once again. It’s time to back the truck into the driveway, grab the shop-vac and start clearing away the accumulated detritus of the past hunting season. No more birds, no more deer and no more ducks until I start hearing the whispered promise of fall on the late August wind. Time to sweep out the dog box and replace shotgun shells and game bags with bumpers and launchers. Hunting season’s over, but training season isn’t and there’s much to do before next year’s first bird is brought to hand.


Sorting through the cab of the truck is like an archeological dig, a grimy chronology of the past six months: Dog hair. Candy wrappers. Spent hulls. Feathers. Mismatched gloves. Mud. Pens and notebooks. Dog-eared copies of the hunting regs. Chewed-up bumpers. A chewed-up road atlas. Chewed-up water bottles. A bird-hunting vest with not nearly enough dried blood in the game bag. A forgotten duck call stuffed between the seats. An unopened package of string cheese that looks like it’s slowly developing life.

Just random stuff, the same kind of random stuff we all accumulate over the course of a season, but if you could somehow divine a measure of truth out of it all, what would it say about you?

My garbage would probably say this: this guy’s obviously neither rich nor very successful. He can’t shoot very well and his dogs are dirty, misbehaved, slobber too much and apparently one of them yacked on the passenger seat. He eats too much junk food and his son isn’t very good at putting the cap back on the BB container. But that’s OK. Dogs are supposed to shred things of value, slobber and barf on the passenger seat. Young boys are supposed to spill BBs and feed part of their candy bars to the dogs, who then barf all over your passenger seat. This isn’t junk I’m sweeping out the truck: It’s six months of memories