Riley and Davis at Silver Dollar City

Riley and Davis at Silver Dollar City

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why Thanksgiving Still Matters

Often times it feels like we see Thanksgiving Day as nothing more than the starting gate to the Holiday season. I am guilty of that as well. This year, between my daughter reminding me of the story of the first Thanksgiving and my own need for reflection, I am treating Thanksgiving with respect.
The reason we celebrate isn't because we need to take time to look around at the things we have and be thankful. Although we almost certainly need to do that from time to time. The reason for Thanksgiving is, to me, a reminder that we are human and our ability to survive and thrive is in some part due to the grace and kindness of other humans.
Seriously, think about what was in the hearts and minds of those Native Americans so long ago. They did not see the religion or race or language of the Pilgrims. They saw people who needed help. As we go through life we all have a turn of being the Pilgrim. Times when you are unsure where to turn, how to move yourself forward, times of uncertainty.  Admitting we are weak, whether it be our health, our finances, or just our own insecurities is always hard. Think about who were your Native Americans when you were in need. Have you thanked them? Did you pay forward their gift to you? Have you taken your turn being the one to help, to guide, to reassure?

Thanksgiving matters. It is our reminder that we are all trying to achieve the same goals. We are all here to help one another. To move ourselves in a better direction. To serve ourselves and others in grace and kindness.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Deer Season

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to get to share my love of the outdoors and hunting with my daughter. While deer hunting normally provides ample time for quiet reflection, time to take stock of my life and the beauty of nature, this year was different. Being in a hunting blind with a six year old is the exact opposite of that. She fidgets, she talks, she is just full of energy. Opening morning was quiet, still, warm and terrible for deer hunting. I did see one deer, a buck, at nearly 300 yards, trotting along, but at that time Riley was lying down in the blind I didn't get her stirred quickly enough to see him. 
While that little activity broke up the time, it wasn't enough for her and she quickly decried deer hunting as boring. We wrapped up the morning hunt with no one having success. After lunch Riley took a nap, and as I was trying to get her awake for the evening hunt she declared "she didn't like hunting anymore" and "she wasn't going".  Well that wasn't an option, so under protest we got her back in her hunting gear, into the truck and off we went. As soon as we pulled into the hunting location she perked back up and was ready to go. Again, it was hot, windy and poor conditions to see much deer activity. She and I talked a lot about deer habits and I told her stories about hunts I had been on before. As she got restless I pulled out the Kindle for her to play games and help pass the time. Just shortly after 5:00, a doe stepped out about 150 yards away. I got Riley to look at her through the binoculars and I asked "do you want to watch her, or do you want me to shoot?". She wanted me to shoot her. So while she got her hearing protection on and got her binoculars refocused on the grazing, but very suspicious, doe, I got my gun ready. I asked Riley again if she was sure she wanted me to shoot and she gave an emphatic "yes".
So I made my shot. While it wasn't perfect, she dropped right there. Of course Riley was ready to run out of the blind and go see her right away, I explained that we still had time to watch for another deer. In her words, "So we could use that doe as bait for a bigger deer". A new way to look at it.
After Dad and Jerry got over to us after shooting time, we set out to get our doe.
Riley finally got to see what she had been waiting for, how to gut a deer. She was enthralled.
The moaning about being bored faded away pretty quickly now that she had, not only seen a deer, but got to be part of a kill.

Well, the next morning, despite a late night Riley popped out of bed ready to hunt again. While she and I didn't see anything, Dad got a button buck. Riley was just as excited the second day.

While that was the conclusion of deer season 2012 for us, Riley is already talking about turkey season!