The Israelites’ wandering didn’t end in the desert. It took them twelve judges and two kings before they finally took full possession of the Promised Land. And even then, King David was still fighting Philistines when he hung up his crown. Well, I can relate. I myself was promised a parcel of land to call my own, a gift given in celebration of my birth, but it wasn’t until the spring of my 44th year, this year, that I finally claimed it.
Flowing with milkweed and honey locust trees, it’s a beautiful stretch of property that hugs the red and wandering Cimarron River. Towering cottonwoods surround the place like fenceposts, standing sentinel and sifting their seeds, but they don’t really keep anything out. Or in.
I hunted hard for two weeks straight but ended my season with an unpunched tag. I shed blood, sweat, and maybe even a few tears on my place, thanks to the midday sun, a string of stray barbed wire, and those stinking turkeys, and in so doing, I at long last staked my claim to the thousands of acres of public land and wildlife management areas that are available to each and every citizen of this country. Maybe America’s most underutilized resource, public lands offer adventure and opportunity to hikers and hunters and anyone else feeling trapped in a concrete jungle.
I was promised a parcel of land to call my own, a gift given in celebration of my birth. This year, I finally took possession of it.