The three of us have been in this exact spot doing this exact thing at this exact time of year for the last three years. Each of those years, we’ve found what we’re looking for.
And this year is no different.
It’s not long before Ricky picks up a bedded deer.
Nope, make that two deer.
He guides Josh and me to where they lay, low in the canyon. But then those two deer become one again.
Once we decide this is a good buck to hunt, Josh leaves Ricky and me on the glass and heads to the side of the canyon, where he’ll make his way to the deer that’s now up and feeding to the west.
We’ve done this before, exactly one year ago. And exactly like one year earlier, Josh will get close, but the buck’s defenses will detect him approaching before he’s close enough to let loose an arrow.
So lunchtime finds us back atop that canyon. We talk about where we’re at and how much we love this spot — but it never quite registers that this moment we’re experiencing right now could be the last time we ever find ourselves sitting in this location looking for mule deer.
And that is the point.
Too often, we live like there’s a tomorrow. We go to sleep every night under the assumption that we’ll wake up in the morning. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but there is never a night you go to sleep with a guarantee of the morning. This means this time, right now, this moment; it’s all you have. It’s all there is.
Instead, we play the odds – which, to be fair, works almost all the time.
99.99% of the nights turn into the morning. So go to sleep tonight, and rest easy. The odds are that you’ll wake up in the morning. And the odds are that Josh will draw that New Mexico mule deer tag again, and we’ll find ourselves overlooking that canyon. But when we do, we’ll cherish it as if it’s the last time we get to have that experience – Again.
It’s an amazing privilege to be alive. To experience what we do. To see what we see. To feel what we feel. Even when those feelings and experiences are brutal, the fact that we feel anything at all is mind-blowing.
And this mindset changes things in life and on a hunt.
It changes how you notice the wind on your skin or the cold seeping into your toes. It transforms all of the bad into good. And not just on the mountain. In everything that you do.
Cherish the moment. Make goals and dreams, and plans. But live as if all you have is right now.
Right. Fucking. Now.