Through child-lidded eyes, these two products of foreign engineering were representative of a surprise, of a night spent with dad, deaf but for the cacophonous raucous occurring in the arena outside of our earplugs.
We would wake up, sleepy eyed, from a lengthy slumber on any given Saturday, to the vision of two monster trucks on the table, tickets underneath. I'm sure we jumped for joy like the kids on the moon-boots commercials, performed cheesy high-fives akin to the 90's style Nickelodeon we so lovingly glued our eyes.
All day would be spent speculating which trucks would make an appearance, how many buses it would crush, if dad would get us sundaes and, of course, would the great Gravedigger be there?
He always was, no matter what, toting his brand of eardrum-splitting reverberations, truck-inspired aural euphoria.
That type of certainty, the type that makes children believe in the tooth fairy's uncanny ability to know exactly when a tooth was lost, makes me wish to be young again, at least younger than I am now. As my first season in North Dakota looms in the foggy, far-off distance, I am starting to feel that juvenile sense of certainty once more.
Ever since we landed here, our island oasis, a paradise of hunting, we've heard that we will not be disappointed come season.
"The ducks black the sky."
"You'll never see anything like it."
"I remember my first season.. and yet, I still can't believe it."
These epitaphs of hunts long since passed paint a curious picture that has turned me back into the girl staring open-mouthed at a pink monster truck that somehow shoved all of its girth into our modest kitchen. I always knew the sounds of metal-on-metal beneath behemoth wheel would come, eventually, but the sounds of this season, this certainly epic season, have alluded me thus far.
As much as I have tried, I don't think I'm fully, mentally prepared for what I will witness come season. I've tried with no success to imagine the sights of a mule deer silhouetted against a red splash of western sky, the smells of decaying bogs, the sound of a million birds blanketing the world, cutting off all noise, save for the flapping wings.
Season regulations have dominated my attention as of late, dates swirling like a vast pot of apprehension in a black witch's kettle. August 31 cannot come soon enough, as it brings with it the first day of archery. Waterfowl regulations put a tentative start for Canadas August 15, all other migratory species, September 22. Jackalope season is still far off but I'm scouting heavily, as if it starts tomorrow.
The War Memorial in Rochester, just as any arena, has gates through which patrons find their seating arrangements. From a distance, they resemble dark corridors leading to a passageway of pure, blinding light. I still know the numbered gates by heart, they begin in the middle where the ascending steps from will call meet the main drag, they diverge left and right, dotted with food vendors and beer suppliers.
When we weren't attending Monster Truck rallies, we watched hockey, a whole lot of hockey. We would arrive early, so early that I would race to the first gate, the biggest, and stand atop the concrete steps. I would shield my eyes from the intense white and urge my ears to pick up the absolutely mellifluous sound of a single skate, carving into the fresh ice.
Until I really experience all that is afforded during a North Dakotan hunting season, I shall stand atop my perch with my younger self, looking eagerly towards the unknown beyond, a white, pearly ball of apprehension, natural radiance, of monster trucks and ice skates, and listen.
The sounds of the season are beginning to take shape, form tones, and lure hunters nation-wide into her Siren song, we, her targets, will begin take up arms and be lulled.
Her lullaby, my scared song, is long awaited and unprecedented but just as the sound of monster trucks and ice skates sang wonder into my young heart, so will this season, my first in paradise.