October Mornings

Phoenix copy

The alarm beeps 4:30 and I fumble for the snooze before it wakes Jess and the girls. I force open my lids, pull the phone from its charger, and check the weather. My eyes burn from the screen’s glow and notice a messenger bubble in the middle of the screen.

John is already awake and telling me to meet him at the crossroads instead of the usual rendezvous point. “I’ve got us a special spot today,” he types, “…one of my old honey holes. I haven’t hunted it in years.”

“Understood,” I thumb back, “field boots or knee-high rubbers?”

“Better bring the rubbers. It rained pretty good last night and we are hunting by a creek. It’s probably going to be wet.”

“Good,” I think to myself, “the deer won’t hear us coming”. I realize we won’t hear them either, but cast the counterpoint aside to avoid dampening the excitement.

There’s nothing like a Michigan October 1.

It is the one time of year adults happily rise before their alarms and toss their covers to the night like children on Christmas morning. Only it is the possibility of wild things and not the brightly wrapped gifts and sparkly tree that drives them into the cold, unforgiving wood at such an hour.

This rush into solitude is hard to explain to the non-hunting world. The idea of trading a perfectly warm bed and pot of coffee for a long, lonely sit in the cold, dark woods seems ludicrous at best.

But something peculiar happens on such a morning. Something that must be witnessed rather than explained, which is why the non-believers don’t get it. We don’t have the vocabulary to describe such a feeling — though many try.

While the human race is divisive on so many fronts, anyone with a touch of wild spirit would agree that few things compare to the beauty of a morning sunrise. Likewise, any sportsmen would agree this feeling is amplified ten-fold while afield. And I believe, that out of this segment of enthusiasts, it is the bowhunter who has the best seat in the house.

Ol’ Fred said it best, hunting “cleanses the soul”, and the crackle of leaves in the ears and crisp autumn air in the nostrils would leave the most obtuse of naysayers clamoring for a counterpoint.

Hunting does indeed cleanse the soul.

It brings you peace, it removes you from the worries of the world, and gifts you the precious moments of reflection that should be cherished by any human being.

My brothers and sisters: a bow in the hand is worth all the riches in the world on mornings such as this. The most hardened of warriors couldn’t pry it loose without a fight — and anyone in the know would know better. October is a precious month — rain, sleet, or snow — to rest, recharge, reflect, or seek redemption for the previous year’s failed attempts.

Truth-be-told I haven’t had a successful one in some time. Whether it be work, family, rain, or my own ineptitude, month number ten seems to be a slippery one for me. That, however, doesn’t stop me from cherishing every minute of it.

As Emerson once said…

“Live in the sunshine. Swim the sea. Drink the wild air.”

Get out of bed. Grab your bow. It’s time to go hunting.

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A Moment of Color

Colors

Its 2017 and everyone wants to be angry.

Society is in a strange place – reaction heavy – with little room for thought and reflection. The irony of all of this insanity is the answers to our issues are almost always in the middle, but wedged between two extremes and difficult to see. And even if they were visible, most would ignore them anyway.

Whether it be race, religion, politics, or something as simple as a point of view said in passing, the world is becoming black and white. The gray area has all but deteriorated.

It makes me think a lot. It makes me wonder. It makes me wish.

And if I could wish, I would ask for something that would unite us. Something that would make us see how short our lives are and how precious time is. And how wonderful would it be if these things were good enough.

They don’t seem to be.

The shameful part of all of it is how easy harmony can actually be. All you need is a catalyst. Something that whittles away the complexities of the human condition until the heart and soul are exposed and joy is allowed to breathe again.

Could the bow and arrow be that catalyst?

Possibly. Nothing is incorrect in the land of metaphoric hypotheticals. Allow me to explain, as I would love to live in such a reality.

I’ve seen the simple bow do wonderful things to people. I’ve seen it make them laugh in the face of loss. I’ve seen it bring emotion to the stoic. I’ve seen it give confidence when there was very little present. I’ve seen it give faith to those who have very little. I’ve seen it give direction to the lost.

There are no social requirements to the casting of an arrow. It doesn’t understand your race, religion, political alignment, economic backgrounds, or food preferences, nor does it care. The beauty of it is, when others are present in that casting and participating themselves, neither do they. They don’t care about anything but the flight of the arrows and how good it feels to watch them.

Now, the casting of an arrow is only a moment, but its a damn good one. So good we buy beautifully crested, colorful arrows by the dozen and purchase quivers to hold and display them. We want to shoot another. We need to see that arrow fly. We want to live in these moments as long as we possibly can and share them with anyone who will listen.

I think about these moments often. I wish I could bottle them and dedicate my life to giving them away.

If a wooden bow and a handful of arrows is beautiful and powerful enough to unify a diverse group of individuals (albeit small), why can’t the principle be applied elsewhere and to greater effect?

What will it take? What is the catalyst? What will fix us?

I wish I knew – at least beyond a hypothetical. I just hope we figure it out – and soon. Until then, I’m going to think about that arrow and suggest you all do the same. If anything, its a start.

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