Twelve days later, it's still hard to believe what happened, what you did. The sun slanting away as it does in a Northern Fall, light rapidly dwindling, with a massive drop in temps imminent and a black storm front marching across the valley floor, dropping lightning bolts like smartbombs. And you’re shod in nothing but extreme sandals, and a single layer of the finest — but not warmest — techy material known to the hunting man. At dawn, it was only supposed to be a dayhunt. Yet you barely acknowledged the changing weather, your attention monopolized by the bull that drew you further, higher, beyond sense —when you first glassed him at two miles you were sure his rack could bridge the Missouri — that bull had primal instinct redlining, and you choking down power-goo and go-bars and zip-shots like they were the gateway to anti-gravity. You found yourself: over thirty-six hours in, the storm having docked directly overhead, quartering an ungulate that wouldn’t fit in your three car garage, having last felt your feet eight hours ago.
Twelve days later: the wood stove glowing, chest freezer overflowing, and the beer in hand tastes like nectar, like life even. Reflect on what really mattered, in the end: the fact you could still haul out that hundred pound quarter with the electric storm lighting the way, and that you had enough space to pack that extra layer, thrown in almost on a whim. Blessed that your fingers outnumber your toes now, but not by much. Thankful for the Bighorn that most likely saved your life.