Monday morning, the sun slowly rises above the hills, glistening on the frost across the fields. Everything is silent but the energy is all a buzz. People spread themselves across expanses of properties all dressed in orange apparel, guns in hand, pockets full of candy, waiting patiently. Big burly men assume childlike glee and all are beyond ecstatic for the adventure that is about to ensue.
It is the deer hunt.
I have been hunting since I was a small girl. I remember bundling up in my snow suit and waiting for my dad to come pick me up. We would go sit in the bush and eat candy while enjoying each others company. This year having my son on the watch with me I assume my dad didn't enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed being with him.
When I got older and got my license I would miss days of school to go hunting with the gang. Every year I longed for the first week in November. Some of my longing was derived from my passion for the sport, some my adolescent need for a break from all the hormones and homework that go along with the high school experience.
Now that I am older and do not have the excuse of missing school the hunting experience is different for me. I still love the sport and the anticipation of Monday morning but the reasons I love it are much greater. (Pause because of shooting... I am writing this on my watch.)
Of course hunting is a bonding experience for me. I connected with my father as a child, my brother as we became adults and many friends because of the sport, but the ultimate connection is with God.
Sitting out in nature, looking at the sculptures created by the hands of God is a fabulous place to meet Him. For me when the chase is a lull and I am cold and bored I take that time to talk to Him. I think, I ask, we chat. When you have a few hours to sit in a wide open field over looking rolling hills that carry on forever, the amazing unknown of God hits home. Even when we don't see Him, He is just over that next hill, behind the tree or coming up out of the pond. He is always there.
His creation of the forest is so revealing. Squirrels sound like buffalo's, chipmunks crash like moose, birds sound like dogs, trees crack and sway. When you find yourself in complete solitude and at one with nature it is fascinating to see how the birds live. To watch the chipmunks prepare for winter. To see the deer use their instinct, the rabbit
s to scurry and hop, the partridge come from no where because they are so amazingly designed to hide in their surroundings.
Lately life has been tough. Challenges keep coming and sometimes the way out isn't obvious. Yet something I rediscovered this passed two weeks is that faith in our creator is the only way. Watching those animals carry on in their lives is so symbolic of what we should be as followers of Christ. The scripture is true, the birds never have to worry. God cares for them, he meets their needs. The chipmunks don't go hungry even though they may have to work harder to find the food to store. In some strange way the forest works together. The animals live out their purpose and even though that means some are natural predators they live as God designed.
Deer hunting for me isn't just a "hick" sport. In actuality hunting requires a lot of skill, knowledge and preparation. It is a sport of precision and awareness. It is a sport I love. Hunting isn't just shooting animals (so that we have food for the winter) but the sport brings with it community, new and exciting friendships, good stories and amazing fabulous food. It also allows me to stop and take that time with God that sometimes my busyness doesn't allow. I learn to appreciate God more. I see a little bit more of the mystery reveal itself when I sit and watch and wait. For me I feel like I am sitting in God's backyard, enjoying his handiwork, freely being who He created me to be and listening to what He wants to say.
"I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined and heard my cry." Psalm 40:1