Deer season is one of the very best times of the year for a lot of reasons.

There is the thrill of the hunt. It is a favorite season to be outside - between summer heat and drought and the freezing cold of winter.

There are the many good memories of past seasons to reminisce about. Mine start from 70-plus years ago.

For the first hunts, the anticipation built up through September and October as we spent Sunday afternoons clearing the two-mile trail from the nearest farmhouse to the Deer Lake camp. We brushed out space for tents and a little cook shack and selected trees to climb, to perch on and shoot from.

The best parts of deer season back then included getting out of school and avoiding home barn chores for a whole 10 days.

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Even better, we spent more time with our dads than any other time, learning to hunt safely, eating while crammed together in an uncle’s 10- by 12-foot fishhouse, and huddling in a big nest of quilts and blankets in unheated tents for sleeping.

Unlike John Wetrosky’s birch stand, my first “deer stand” was 20 feet up in a big Norway pine, with feet on one branch, butt on a second and arms and rifle across a third.

But now, for this old man, the best aspect overall is the passing of deer stand hours in contemplative time. There is the rush of excitement whenever anyone of our small group or the neighbors sees a deer and shoots.

Then, there are the waiting hours between to simply enjoy watching and soaking in God’s animated and scenic creations. It is a perfect place and time to meditate. Many of us feel enhanced by a practice of meditating a little each day.

In the deer stand, I can luxuriate in relaxed meditation hours on end.

The occasional sounds that get attention are the chattering squirrels, chirping chickadees, cawing crows or honking migrating geese. The moving sights are the same squirrels and crows, and occasional turkeys and ground animals below and geese, soaring hawks and eagles above.

The hours of contemplation, meditation or reflection blend together and pass enjoyably and without interruption. There are no alarms or sirens or loud traffic or angry screaming - just the quiet time.

I hope to shoot a deer or two or three this year; some for the freezer and more to give away.

If not, I’ll still have the long, good hours of contemplative time between sunrise and sunset; long, peaceful hours of enjoyment that God gives us every year here in Echoland, with the hope that I’ll be able to enjoy it all again next year.