The fringe benefits of a morning in the woods

Late November, nothing more needs to be said if you are an outdoorsman. thanksgiving week is traditionally in NC the best time of year for hunting Whitetail deer. It is one of my most favorite seasons. I love getting up at 0430 when its bone cold and making my way into the dark woods and settle into my stand to wait on that monster buck that is sure to appear. Now anyone who has ever done much deer hunting knows that the monster buck is indeed a rare sight. Most mornings are cold and alot of waiting and watching. Today I got up earlier than usual to let my new dog out to do her business. My son was supposed to go with me. I stirred him from REM sleep and dreams of fighting orcs about 0500. He informed me that he was tired and didn't want to go, so I blessed him with the sleep a 10 year old needs. So I took off for our farm to hunt alone. It was an awesome morning, cold but not bitter, no wind. It was perfect, but no deer. I don't get frustrated with these days though. I'm learning alot about life still, learning that God uses really small stuff to teach us.

Today I was watching the forest come to life and this morning the birds were particularly frenetic. All varieties, robins, wrens, sparrows, and several species of woodpeckers were just having a blast. Sitting in solitude for 4 or 5 hours is really good for you and your senses about the environment around you become heightened. I was watching these birds, chirping out a symphony, sprinting from limb to ground, to bush to tree. I set my stand up right next to our small creek. Its really a pristine little corner of the world. And as if someone hit a switch every bird within a hundred yards of me made a bee line for a small shoal in the bend of the creek not 15 yards from me. I watched as they splashed and played and sang and drank. It was amazing, literally 50 little birds converged all at once to get their fill of the water. I forgot completely about the deer and just watched in amazement. Now being one who is always looking for God to be saying something I began to ask, "Lord, what are You saying in this display?" It was so crystal clear, Matthew 10:29 says that not even one sparrow falls to the ground without Father knowing it. All those little birds flopping and splashing in that water, Father knows! He knows them as I write this. He knows them as the seas ebb and flow with their tides. He knows them as hotels are attacked in Mumbai, as soldiers are aching to be at home on thanksgiving, as a nation wonders about its future. As all the Universe is held together and orchestrated by God, He knows those little birds that frolic in the small patch of woods at my farm in NC.

I began to dwell on that for a bit, and a very contented smile broke across my face at the realization that amidst all the stuff, the trouble of the world, the hairs on my head (or lack there of) are numbered. My life is not merely my own it was bought with a price and tended by a most gracious, kind and loving Father who speaks both explicitly and implicitly through His word and His world.

That is a benefit of 5 hours in the cold and not seeing one deer!


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