Deer and Ax Heads

A lot of the guys are hunters. Currently, it’s high buck season in Washington. And that, for you great unwashed, is male deer. Yesterday, I overheard a conversation going on outside the office at the shop.

“I shot a buck on Saturday. Big guy. We trailed it until it ran into the lake,” Billy said.

“Uh oh. And then what?” asked Phil.

I scrubbed out the expletives for your reading pleasure.

“It swam out about 600 feet, then it drowned. It floated, though.”

Uh. Billy continued.

“I stripped down and dove in. I dragged it out and got it into the truck. The water was like ice.”

Da-vy, Davy Crock-ett…

Houston, we’re not in Portland anymore. Suffice it to say my coworkers never shared stories like this around the coffee carafes. What makes a dead deer float? Is it sheer life force, or simply air trapped in the stomach? One of life’s great mysteries.

“Sometimes they float, sometimes they don’t, ” my coworker said philosophically, shrugging his shoulders.

“That’s nothing. Listen to this one.” He related another story to me as we picked up a car from City Hall to do some work on it.

“John was hunting around the St. Helens area. A logging company worked nearby, using a crane to pull logs off the mountain. John shot an elk and knew he’d have to piece it out (read: quarter it) to cart it back to his truck. He went up to the guy operating the crane and asked how much it would cost for them to pick up his elk and drag it  to his truck, parked back in the woods.”

The coworker smiled at me.

“Guess what the guy said?”

I had no idea.

“‘An 18 pack of Coors Light’, they said. ‘Done!’ John said. They lifted the elk and placed it right in the bed of his truck.”

It made me think of the story of the floating axe head:

One day the group of prophets came to Elisha and told him, “As you can see, this place where we meet with you is too small.  Let’s go down to the Jordan River, where there are plenty of logs. There we can build a new place for us to meet.”

“All right,” he told them, “go ahead.”

“Please come with us,” someone suggested.

“I will,” he said.  So he went with them.

When they arrived at the Jordan, they began cutting down trees.  But as one of them was cutting a tree, his ax head fell into the river. “Oh, sir!” he cried. “It was a borrowed ax!”

 “Where did it fall?” the man of God asked. When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. Then the ax head floated to the surface.  “Grab it,” Elisha said. And the man reached out and grabbed it. – 2 Kings 6:1-6

This story has always stumped me. Why is it in the Bible? Who cares about axes, unless you’re a lumberjack? I think it shows how God cares about even the little things in our lives. We run the risk of losing some things, despite our best efforts. God can help us recapture what we thought we lost. He cares.





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