This is the eastern edge of the Stillwater Unit of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s about 450 acres of river valley habitat, bordered by farms, woods and a small town or two. Thirty miles from Seattle, this pretty lowland area is often flooded by the Snoqualmie River, which runs through it. The morning fog may not burn off until after noon.
Decades ago the Fish and Wildlife folks planted fields here, maintaining the land to attract wildlife. Pheasants bred on game farms are released every fall for a two month hunting season. Other wild birds and animals are hunted too, so I don’t venture too far from the road this time of year – hunting season could still be on for one bird or another. This week when I took these photos, I heard a pheasant in the field – a survivor! A flock of ducks rose from a pond out in the field and a kinglet flitted through the branches under mossy trees.
I appreciate the preservation of habitat that happens as a consequence of hunting but personally, I wouldn’t hunt unless I needed the food. The day job keeps enough money coming is so that I can buy all my food at stores. Once a vegetarian, these days I do eat meat, so you can call me a hypocrite, since I pay others to kill for me. In the “wisdom” that inheres in our times and keeps us separate from the land and our food sources, there is hunger for a stronger connection to the life force. So I go out stalking the wild photograph…