How did you spend your bonus?

At two o’clock this morning, we escaped the annual delusion known as Daylight Saving Time. We say we “turned the clocks back” even though most of our timepieces re-set themselves. The expression is a throwback, a nod to analog.

Did we “gain an hour”? The sun came up at the same time, in absolute terms — the rhythm of the universe didn’t change. Whitetails up on The Mountain paraded by the trailcams, as usual, on their own time.

Here in the bus, Scout and Dipstick didn’t seem to care what the clock said, waking us when their stomachs and bladders awakened them.

Spring or fall, the “time change” affects only those of us who have reasons to observe clocks. That’s necessary for a society to function, of course, though it’s overrated for people.

The trick is knowing when the clock doesn’t matter.

But let’s just say that you did get an extra hour today. You had 60 bonus minutes before your shift or church service began. You had to wait an hour before the store or the diner opened.

What did you do with that time?

For most of us it’s become a binary choice — sleep or stir. I’ll confess that the older I get, less inclined I am to stay in bed. I may not have plans for what I’ll do once I get up, but I know that I accomplish nothing and experience nothing unless I’m upright and moving.

I figure that if I’m awake, Nature is telling me that I’ve had all the sleep I need. Pulling the covers back over my head — even if it’s only for an hour — squanders the gift of another day.

Besides, I love coffee. I really dig sunrises. And there’s nothing better than a morning fire.

Another brilliant autumn day, another trip to The Mountain. Upper 70s and a soft breeze. The cushion of the time change that got us there early (by the clock). We drove the Ranger up the cut, parked just south of the summit ridge, unloaded gear and flopped.

Deb leaned back in her chair, closed her eyes and listened to the wind. Nearby a squirrel (we presumed) crunched fallen leaves as it scurried around the forest floor. The sun warmed us.

It was remarkable — we were absolutely alone and it was absolutely quiet. The outside world was outside somewhere else.

And then we decided to make a little noise.

We’d been wanting to test-fire that .38 Special “snake shot” we’d picked up a couple of months ago. (Yeah, we’re just now getting around to that.) We used a scrap of cardboard as a target, leaned it against a tree, stepped back a dozen feet and fired — one shot from my Smith & Wesson 638-3, one shot from her Ruger LCR. (The stuff is expensive and hard to find these days.) That gave us a quick recoil check and, more important, let us “pattern” the round.

The latter should prompt a chuckle from any reader who’s patterned shotgun rounds — firing shotshells from snub-nosed revolvers, I mean. Let’s just say that #9 shot and a J-Frame or an LCR will do the job, provided they’re deployed within 15 feet.

Looking around today, we could see that The Mountain is in fall’s final weeks. The woods are lovely and deep but, other than inside groves of cedars, they’re no longer dark. Views of surrounding slopes and valleys have been revealed.

It’s a special place in every season. This may be our favorite.

I won’t subject you to another “hat dance,” but I’m gonna conclude today’s post talking about a hat. Over the last couple of weeks you may have spotted me not in a ball cap or a cowboy hat but a fedora. I’ve been wearing it a lot lately. It’s far from new.

Believe it or not, it’s at least 30 years old. I can’t say exactly when I bought it, but I know exactly where — The Nature Company store at Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Quincy Market) in Boston. It was the day after Thanksgiving, aka “Black Friday,” and a light snow was falling.

I bought a hat, this hat, to keep the snow off my head that day. I’ve loved it ever since.

It’s warm, tough and easy to wear all day. Made-in-USA and 100% wool. When the weather is cool enough for a hat but not so cold that I need to cover my ears, it’s my go-to woodswalking hat and has been for three decades.

Though in May of last year I chose leave the fedora at home, when we packed up the house in July I knew it had to come with me to The Mountain. I don’t suppose it’s an especially southern hat, certainly not western. It’s simply my favorite hat.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB