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Friday, November 27, 2009

An Arkansas Thanksgiving

For the first time ever, my school was out all week for Thanksgiving break. This was awesome, giving me the opportunity to go hunting with Shawn. I had not been in 20 years, but I wanted to take Grace so that she could experience it, so that she could make a decision for herself about hunting. We dropped off the two younger girls with my mother-in-law and headed to deer camp for a few days.

I enjoyed spending time with my family and came away with some amazing deer stories of my own. Spending time in the woods has long been one of my favorite activities. I loved watching individual leaves spinning to the ground to gently land in puddles. I guess one of the best afternoons was the one I spent fishing with Grace. We squealed as we caught crickets to bait our hooks, and we squealed some more as we took turns taking each other's fish off our hooks. We're both squeamish about touching the fish. However, we laughed and joked and relaxed and had a great time. I'm loving making the transition into a mentoring friendship. I am sure there will be some hard teen years ahead, but I am also looking forward to this new phase in our relationship.

The funniest part of the trip was the excitement of all the males in my life about my deer hunting. You would've thought I had won a million dollars. My husband said about the whole experience, "I wouldn't have been more surprised if I'd woke up with my head sewed to the carpet." Totally cracked me up.

At Shawn's family's Thanksgiving dinner, we ate tons of great food, then moved to the carport to finish packaging deer meat. (For my tree hugger friends who have issues with hunting, think of it this way - my children will be eating antibiotic and hormone free, totally organic, lean meat.) As we were packaging the meat, I looked up to realize I was surrounded by all of Shawn's uncles. Through the fog of smoke emanating from their cigarettes and the sound of tobacco juice hitting the pavement, they were slapping me on the back and asking for my story and retelling their greatest hunting exploits. I felt like I had passed some sort of secret ritual to join a very secret club. It was certainly very strange, but strange in a good way.

I am glad that I gave hunting a second chance. I loved being outdoors and spending time with my family. It was great to slow down and let life come to a complete halt for a few days. It was amazing to just be still. For my only goal to be absolute stillness and quietness. I did not hear God speak into my stillness like I expected, but it was instead as if He was just being still with me. Like He was showing me how it feels to be quiet with someone you love....no awkward silence, just companionable quiet.

Now I am back home, back into my crazy busy life. I have tons to do to prepare for out of town company coming in tomorrow. I also have lots to do to get ready for school on Monday. And so, my life is back to normal.

1 comment:

Lee said...

I have always treasured that very early time on cold clear winter mornings when I have the tremendous gift of watching God's great earth wake for the day. The silent majesty, the clean cold breeze; Sometimes I forget why I'm there and just look around in awe.

I also sit in remembrance of friends and family who have passed on. Long conversations about life with uncle George, walking along the levee with my dad, talking about Hemingway novels with Mickey Binswanger, asking Granddaddy Pop why doves fly so crooked and asking my granddaddy Winchester why we can't hunt ducks in the summer when it's warm... These are some of the most treasured memories of my life.

I'm glad you're in the club.