March 6th was one of those perfect spring days, warm and calm with a cloudless sky-- that shade of blue that only seems peculiar to spring. As my oldest son and I walked through my hunting property, memories seemed to hang from the very branches. We walked past the stand where an eight year-old John watched me arrow a nice buck (after first pointing it out to me). It was that same stand he shot his second deer from. We strolled past a campsite, across the old footbridge, through the old dump. Each place we passed brought to mind another story. "Remember that pile of cow bones?" I asked. We had found the old cow skeleton years ago, and while I looked for plants that day John had carefully piled them up. They became a sort of macabre landmark from then on. John looked down from nearly six feet up ( when did THAT happen?) and said, "Yeah. I remember!" I thought about how small he used to be. How I used to lift him over the creek. I thought about how the little ones seem to notice those things that we adults eventually stop noticing. How he wanted to keep every rock, acorn and snail shell he found. Especially snail shells. As we neared an old fallen tree where we had sat together many times, I stopped and said, "I can't believe it!" "Is that what I think it is?" John asked, looking ahead. "Yep! Go pick it up! " It was a nice shed from a deer we had actually captured on the trailcam. "You know, you can technically say you found it, since I didn't point it out," I said, winking. "Yup," he grunted. I thought back to the days when John never stopped talking. Now he averaged less dialog than Clint Eastwood's "Man with no Name." We walked slowly back and as we got back in the van John pulled something from his pocket. "Look at that," he said. It was a snail shell. I guess "little John" is still in there somewhere. .