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Today is December 6, 2022


A September symphony

By Tony Kinton

A September symphony

Kevin Tate waits for doves in the sunflowers.

Septembers were different back then — 1965 and a few years afterward. At least it seems now that they were different then. The cawing of crows possessed a peculiar timbre, a resonance that, when heard in the distance, evoked a sense of tranquility, and of casual indifference. A simple chattering among fellows, allowing no rush to impede the lackadaisical. Just quiet chitchat as the collection removed itself from one location to another. The woodwinds — if this were an orchestra.

Cornstalks contributed, their withered leaves and browned stalks serving as the string section, performing a symphony across post-harvest fields. All in well-tuned harmony with autumn’s first hints of arrival. A pleasant breeze serving as bow for cello, viola, and violin, warmth of an afternoon sun the bow’s resin. 

The percussion? Grasshoppers and other insects chiming, clinking, and buzzing. These were not the overriding portion of this musical jubilance — more the background. Still, the composition would be lacking without their foundation tying meter and measure and downbeat and fermata together to create the perfect whole. The blast from a Blue Jay was the brass.

And there were the delightfully endearing smells. Hay fields for the most part, now lying dormant and peaceful, that last mowing of the season behind them. Seeds strewn hither and yon. And to those scattered seeds came the doves. Skydivers of great renown, those doves were. We hunted them in early September.

It is September again. Somewhere that symphony is playing. Somewhere those pleasures of sweet aromas abound. Somewhere doves are diving from above, accelerating tree-top high with skilled aerobatics, frustrating shotgunners who empty twin tubes or magazines with no reward past an enhanced admiration for the little grey missiles that outperformed shooters’ best. That somewhere is worth finding.

Dove season has a rich heritage. It is the first of fall seasons, and the pursuit attracts thousands each year. That attracting translates into gatherings, cook-outs, fellowship, and sharing. Recreation in God’s Creation at its finest. And it should be pointed out, though this is a mundane calculation apart from those fun times that dove hunting — all hunting for that matter — generates millions of dollars that go into management in its various forms, including maintenance and acquisition of lands and other wildlife-related programs. 

And quickly: What about shotguns for doves? Most anything will do. The younger will likely lean to synthetic-stocked semis or pumps. Those older among us, those who remember reading Nash Buckingham, will entertain a strong propensity to side-by-sides. To each his own in that regard.

Now that I think about it all, Septembers today are not terribly different than Septembers of my youth. Simply put, Septembers are spectacular. 


by Tony Kinton

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit for more information.

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