September 19, 2020

"You Can Take It From Here" by Vance Bacon

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A longtime hunting friend who has been a regular at hunting camp since the first year hunting camp opened nearly 55 years ago, Vance Bacon, in 1982 wrote a poem. It’s a great piece of work, so much so that I had to find a place to publish it in my son’s and my book we wrote, “The Legend of Grey Ghost and Other Tales From the Maine Woods”. Here’s his introduction to the poem followed by the poem.

Vance Bacon near big hemlock tree in Albany, Maine

As you may remember, the opening day of deer hunting in 1982 dawned cool and clear.

I decided to hunt in an area where I hadn’t hunted for many years. I went up on Curtis hill, just beyond Gordon Emery’s camp, left the car and headed towards Berry’s Ledge. I moved slowly along and by the time I reached a small ledge overlooking the valley below, the sun was just coming up over the mountain. As I stood there, soaking up the first few warm rays, the sound of the town waking up, came drifting up to me through the morning fog-a dog barking, the sound of a logging truck starting up and heading towards Trap Corner, the sound of three shots being fired in the direction of Stearn’s Hill.

As I moved along I stopped for a few minutes at the remains of a huge oak tree, that I remember seeing, when I used to roam these hills as a kid. I held my rifle up against the trunk and it lacked several inches of reaching across. I thought to myself that maybe this tree was here when the Indians hunted this land and wondered what this area might have looked like when this tree was small.

As I reached the old road that winds around the base of Berry’s Ledge, a poem started to form in my mind. As I hunted along, the words slowly came to me and by the time I got back to the car at noontime, I had it pretty much together. It goes like this:

YOU CAN TAKE IT FROM HERE

With the sun on my back and the breeze in my face

And a whole week of hunting ahead

I lift my eyes to the sky and thank the good Lord

That I’m not confined to my bed

My eyes and my ears still function and the cold air tickles my nose

And even now when a buck snorts just over the ridge

The old adrenalin flows

With fifty two years behind me and with many good hunts in the past

And the friendships I’ve made at the old hunting camp

That I hope forever will last

When the Great Guide up above calls my number

And I know that my last hunt is near

I’ll hand my gun to my son

And with pride in my voice I’ll say

You can take it from here!

By Vance Bacon

Tom Remington

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