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Just a Song Before I Go

2016 October 13
by Rachel Turiel

I’m leaving for elk hunting tomorrow. It’s all still a little surreal, how my life has expanded to include stalking a large mammal with a firearm. Last weekend we went apple picking and then did a little shopping for the week. You know, toilet paper and copper bullets. For months I’ve been jogging, guzzling bone broth, target-shooting and reviewing lethal shot placements. And soon I’ll be in it, where all that prep is theoretical; where the aperture of my focus becomes exquisitely narrowed; where for five days everything that isn’t relevant to the hunt is suspended: the knocked up foster dog, the election, the children (whose schedule is a 4-page, multi-caregiver puzzle including daily single-serve yogurt, a concession which makes it all doable for Rosie. “It helps to have something to look forward to,” she explains).

earringsThe gorgeous elk-tooth earrings my friend Kristi made from the bull elk I shot last year.

It’s been a little nutty here as I dash around whipping up ubercaloric food, teaching creative writing to ten children out of my home, throwing down for a round of push-ups, and palpating the dog for contractions. Never one to quietly and unobtrusively stand by, Rosie’s need for connection ramps up in direct relationship to my busyness. She shadows me as I pull apple muffins out of the oven. “Last night at Col’s soccer practice when I scored a goal?” she begins, “the boys were all surprised because they under-doubted me.” She explains which parts of our 5 days away brings up the most nervousment and how she’d like Col’s bed to be no more than one foot away from hers on sleepovers. And then she kicks up into three handstands, whomps back down and reminds herself aloud that it’s normal for some puppies to die. This too, I tell myself, uncranking my shoulders. There is room for this too.


Shit’s getting real here on the maternity ward.

Sunny’s birthing tub has been installed in the living room. Rosie set it up with the thrift store blankets and waterproof bed liners that our mentor Erin brought over. Later when I climbed into Rosie’s top bunk to snuggle with her I noticed she had placed a waterproof bed liner in her own bed. Well that makes sense, I thought, being that she’s  not one to miss out on anything ever. Col’s been singing the Daft Punk song, Get Lucky with adapted lyrics: We’re up all night ’til the sun / We’re up all night to get some / We’re up all night for good fun / We’re up all night to get lucky HAVE PUPPIES!


The doula is in.

(If the puppy muffins come while we’re away, we have Kathryn, former garden apprentice and best housesitter in the universe, standing by).

Last week was Banned Books Week at the library and I picked up The Outsiders by  S.E. Hinton for Col and Rose, which I must have read 35 times when I was 13 years old. Reading it to them is like having my teenaged self momentarily intertwined with their emerging tween selves, all of us mired in the literary self-conscious angst of wanting to belong. The kids are loving it, partially because the characters drink endless Cokes, smoke a pack a day and eat chocolate cake for breakfast, which is as debaucherous a life as they can imagine, let alone the prevalent rumbles and switchblades.

Well here I go out into the (hopefully) elky woods, surrendering to the wild, unknowable elements. See you on the flip side.



4 Responses leave one →
  1. Susan S permalink
    October 14, 2016

    1. Your children. Seriously, I’ve got hope for the future because of them.
    2. I will now gird my loins and read The Outsiders, after having shunned it since, oh, about 6th grade because it was on practically every required reading list in school from that time forward. I am 49 now, I’m a big girl, I read what I want to read. Sometimes it’s necessary to remind myself of this. :-)

  2. Andrea permalink
    October 25, 2016

    How was the hunt? Have you returned safe and sound?

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