Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Of Mountains, Marshmallows, and Hunting Barefoot

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (NASB) Psalm 121:1-2

Have you ever taken a walk in the mountains?  How about in the rain?  If you're quiet enough, it's more of a glide through the woods. I love being in sync with the forest around me where I'm less of an intrusion and I can appreciate God's creation more fully. When it's raining, the woods are all in motion around me and there are soft sounds everywhere. If I'm lucky, the local squirrel colony will ignore me, otherwise I get scolded until I can convince them I am an inanimate bush.
A few of my girlfriends have expressed complete bafflement at why I love to hunt. It's honestly hard to describe. But as we were hunting in the woods today, I toted my camera along, too. It was just a day trip, with makes things very clean and civilized, with a shower and a normal potty at the end of the day. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me enlist their help as I try to explain.

I love seeing the fall colors and the clouds rest between the hills. It is gently reminiscent of my college years in West Virginia. That nip of fresh air, unpolluted by the city, feels crisp as if blows through the trees and invigorates my lungs. There are no highway noises, no people, nothing. Just the critters, me, and my hunting buddy- usually my little brother, but today it was my husband.
Our gear tells its own stories. The guns I carry were my grandpa's before he passed away. I know he would be proud of me. His big knife is in my pack, and his XL hunters-orange vest is on my back, wrapped around the eight layers of clothing that cause my small frame to resemble a marshmallow. My husband's gun was once carried by our close friend. A free thermos, our huge old army tent, the fancy outhouse. Good memories.

The names we have put to the different places that we hunt are quite unusual: Shepherds Crook, Poop Fork, Lake Tahoe, That-Stupid-Place-There-Is-Always-Fog-And-We-Never-See-Anything, The Burn, The Rock Slide, The Tree-house, etc. All of these places have stories of “almost-got-something” and “Oh my goodness there are so many tracks!”

Around the campfire, there are the stories that get re-hashed every year. They all have their beginning at deer camp and are grounds for year-round teasing: creeping up on a patch of snow, chipmunks that are mistaken for black bears, six-foot-long squirrels, the log that has ears, and Ghost Bears. Using wet maple leaves for TP. All these are a part of my family. My brother finding a bear skeleton. I wear a tooth from it around my neck.
All these elements went through my mind today when I was sitting on my stand at Poop Fork (I'm tellin' ya, that place has unusual powers). Yes, I was soaked. I had forgotten my boots at home so my shoes went squish and slosh alternately when I walked. It was cold. I did not see a buck or a bear. It is worth it. Later when we were back in the car driving towards camp with my bare feet thawing on the dashboard, two doe were along side the road. We stopped, I grabbed my gun and hopped out, hoping to see a buck. Barefoot, I padded around to get a better view. Ow. But what can I say?

The top reason I love to hunt? The mountains. I lift up my eyes to those mountains and am reminded of my God. Jehovah who is the Creator God, and He helps me. He will not let my foot stumble. He never sleeps or gets tired. He is my God.

As we proceed with our adoption process, I appreciate gazing at the mountains. I need that reminder that I serve a God who helps. He is the same God that keeps track of an entire nation of Israelites. One more little brown-skinned child is not too much for Him. Most days, I am excited about our adoption.  However, sometimes I feel overwhelmed as a parent-to-be, and the mountains are a reminder of Who has me and my son written on the palm of His hand. I am thankful God gives such comfort.

I wonder if my son will love to hunt as much as I do?

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! And I love that the song comes into my mine every time I read your blog's title.