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Have you seen what I've seen?

Does the title of this article make you wonder, “Doesn’t Richard know that Christmas was nearly a month ago? Why is he singing a modified version of Christmas song?” Well, it’s been as cold as Christmas, hasn't it? Believe it or not, there's a perfectly good reason for the title.

Have you seen what I've seen? What is that? Well, lately I’ve seen a whole lot of ice. With temperatures in the teens for several days on end recently, everything had a coating of ice. When this happens, I see lots of birds scrounging for something to eat.

One morning I looked out of our front door to see a pair of cardinals. The male in all his gorgeous plumage and his lady friend were hopping around our front porch. Scratching in the flowerbed for seeds, they enjoyed a breakfast of champions. They were apparently very healthy, well fed, but most likely they were fluffed out with their winter coats. Either way, they were beautiful.

Across the way, in a neighbor’s yard, was a huge flock of starlings and blackbirds. The cacophony of their conversation over their food frenzy was loud enough to be heard inside our home. What I saw was a constantly moving mass of birds, each one trying to get to whatever food was available before another could get to it first.

What else did I see on that frozen day? I saw--and heard--thousands upon thousands of geese. The sky was filled with formations of geese.

Predominantly, they were snow geese, but mixed in with the snows were blues and, to a much lesser degree, Canadas and Speckle Bellys. In my eyes, the Speckle Belly is the best eating, and oh how I love seeing Speckle Belly fajitas on my plate on a cold evening.

Have you seen what I've seen? I've seen quite a few large deer being taken during extremely cold days. I have numerous pictures sent to me on my cell phone, and in each and every one of them there has been a smiling hunter. The ones that make me smile the most are those of youth and women hunters. As I see it, the future of hunting is dependent on our youth and our women taking up the sport. When a hunter, youth, woman or man, can go out in freezing weather and not only see, but also take, a huge buck, as I see it, the future of hunting is burning brightly.

Have you seen what I've seen? As I sat recently in a deer stand, freezing but for the butane heater flowing at my feet, I saw a raccoon in a fast walk, wobbling across the food plot I was watching. He paused at the far end of the field to consume corn from the feeder--food intended for the deer, but happily shared with all the wildlife, birds and mammals alike. Soon, the raccoon was joined by others of his ilk, and before long, I saw a floor show to rival anything at the Orpheum. Before it was over and the characters had departed, there had been six or seven raccoons gorging themselves on the free food. It was a sight worth the price of admission.

Rev. Richard Wiman is the pastor of First

Presbyterian Church in Belzoni and an

accomplished, much-published writer.

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