We were entirely distracted looking at what seemed like a doe behind a wall of thick green shrubs. One of us sighting binoculars in as the other was squinting eyes to focus and trying to decipher what was causing the bushes to move. Suddenly as if taking a usual morning stroll around the fields, appears in front of my eyes the sight of my first buck.
He appeared during one of those moments when your eyes need a five-second break to charge on the challenge of identifying game once again from sticks, branches, leaves, and squirrels. Blood pumping fast, face flushing, heart raising, I could hear my heart beat resonating in my ears.
I couldn’t say precisely from what direction he came from.
I have never seen a buck out in the woods in my entire life. First time ever that I had the blessing of witnessing such a fantastic sight and feeling. My heart skipped beats, my mouth dropped, and like a reflex, my right hand landed flat underneath my hunting mentors knee and squeezed hard trying to grab his attention with the intention to communicate an alert to stop moving or making noises because something incredible was standing right in front of our blind.
I couldn’t believe it. I was staring directly at a buck. At that moment, I was so amazed by the whole encounter that I didn’t even count antler points or tried to average weight or age. I was in a daze. Stoked. Speechless. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. I was totally admiring the way the buck walked, moved, behaved, noticing every single muscle-movement on his robust body as he walked around, how beautifully his coat shinned with the sunlight and sun rays peeking through the tree branches and all the reactions he had every time he heard unfamiliar or perceived as threatening sounds. I was observing every single detail with such precision I couldn’t even hardly breathe.
That’s all it took for me to get motivated and ramp up my personal goals for this coming hunting season. I have been preparing for my first hunt for the past two years. All I had as a goal for this hunting season was only to show up at a public hunting management area and observe others hunting. Now things have changed a little, maybe it’s time to get ready for more than just watching after all. I still can’t believe I sighted my first buck.
I thought I was just watching a sunset… but the sensation within turned out to be much bigger than that…
During a delightful afternoon, with beautiful cool breezy air currents that carried the last textures of a Winter’s end… I felt the need to wander around the woods of a hunting camp of a very good friend of mine. After many painful and unpredictable life changes, the need of going after soul solace seeks began to feel stronger everyday. Without even doing it intentionally, I found my comfort in nature. Everything about nature started to captivate me.
Finding pleasure and contentment in simple little things became my utmost passion. Nature started being present in my heart, in my soul, in my body and in my thoughts. I remember feeling grateful for having the ability of observing sunrises and sunsets. By watching those spectacular events I felt how they illuminated my being with a sense of hope that I had never experienced before. Even rainy days felt like soft velvets covering my skin, as every rain drop fell and ricochet against my face and my body, as every storm passed, as every puddle formed and the smell of petrichor inundated everything around me.
I felt hypnotized by so much power. I found a companion in nature. The world outdoors felt like my best friend, my partner, my confidant and my complement. I loved getting to know this new friend I found on a daily basis, everything about my wilderness friend intrigued me. I became very passionate about the environment and climate. Continuing to expand my knowledge and awareness about wildlife and nature made me feel connected to my inner self.
Today, I feel grounded. Learning about trees, plants and medicinal herbs makes me feel part of this world. All these feelings overwhelmed my soul to such an extreme, that I retracted myself from friends and family for a while. Everyone thought I was sad, but I wasn’t. I was paying close attention to the world around me, around us. I remember thinking how at moments, it became hard to believe that I had been alive in this wonderful world all these years and I took it for granted. I had no more time to waste. I had work to do… I had a world to discover… literally…
As I continued to walk around the hunting camp, I noticed a deer stand in the distance. I felt the urge of climbing up and just sitting there until the sunset spectacle was over and the nights drama began. So I did, I carefully climbed up to this new high altitude unknown perspective, to observe the last colorful sun rays of the day dilute in the profound waters of the sky.
If you pay attention at a sunset, the display of colors in the sky always seems to match your emotions. As they dissolve in the horizon, somehow everything that hurts inside you disappears too. I felt like my heart was a paint brush that was being dipped in a water cup to be cleaned.
The most powerful part of a sunset is the moment where the day is about to close and turn into night. At that precise fraction of a second, there is this pause, the silence, that exact moment feels like the most incredible gift I have ever received in my entire life. Those absent seconds, those precise non-existent seconds remind me that I am alive everyday. They make me aware of my surroundings and feel appreciation for all the beauty nature displays for me daily. They provoke me to breathe the depths of air textures mixed with the humid dirt to serve as a reminder of what I am made of.
Those absent seconds, teach me how to listen to the melodies of the winds, sounding like a potpourri of chirps and chimes of breezes blowing around me to make me realize how far distances I can reach, when I wish things with my whole heart.
They have awakened the thirst to hydrate my soul with the taste of rain, sun rays and river water to deeply evoke on my heart desires. These absent seconds never cease to stop feeding my taste buds with the crave to hunt and scout within me to be true to who I am.
Those absent seconds, make me feel the possibility of almost touching the horizon as every ray of light disappears in the distance. I count them one by one, each one like a resonating vibration of everything that constitutes who I am.
They act as daily set reminders of every single blessing I hold in my heart and in my life. It is just at that precise moment, that I consciously and humbly acknowledge that my biggest blessing of all is my own life and the path I choose to take to live it every single day. Those absent seconds are my daily gift TODAY and EVERY DAY.
As soon as I became fully aware of all this power, I suddenly felt something changed… I felt different…I was connected, I was powered, I felt inspired, I felt primitive and totally intoxicated with my own hunger. Just like that, and without a warning, wilderness came bearing gifts to me. I began to receive and develop all the necessary tools to become a hunter…and I am a huntswoman.
Being in Spring, wild as the wind, capricious like the weather and embracing love as deep as the roots of old trees. Guided by all the absurds, the passions, the unreasonable silence, the loudest whispers and the ignored voices.
The same ones that resonate loudly and we continue to disregard because more times than not, they go against attending to our sense of responsibility. They interfere with every plan we had already made, any schedule we had created before we even heard the first sound within ourselves imploring us to change our minds.
Predominantly, the echoes of the courageous fears and the reverberating hunger of questions that may never be answered with certitude. Paying attention to the things I’m lured into, has indeed connected me to my path.
All the absurd possibilities, those fire burning passions that we try to appease to satisfy our blunt splurge and faithful dedication to preposterous sets of beliefs, like if by the act of ignoring or denying their existence we will quell the disturbance they cause in our spirit.
That same unreasonable silence we can’t stand and continue to avoid facing, the loudest whispers, the voices we hear but don’t understand. As for now, allowing my own truth to be the number one ruler of my order, has lead a whole army of decision making horsemen conquer over the famine of empty sounds held in my heart.
More often than not, I found myself listening to the empty quietness in my mind. The silent chimes create melodies that spoke of a code that has the power to free you from your own-self. Without question, solitude has totally changed my life. My solitude brought me light. My solitude gave me what I needed to find. My solitude forgave everything that wounded my heart and left forgotten all the shades that hunted my own fears. Fears scared by fears. Fears that didn’t weight as much as my forbearing and restrained desires to have the audacity to face pain or grief, moreover, to face how strong one can be. Let go of it all. Silently and very vigilantly watch to see what stays. Be heedful of your own intuitions, find you. Nothing more amazing than the freedom to follow your heart.
Absolutely convinced that, a heart that outlasts any inclemency of the weather, has learned to protect it’s own shelter. Adjusting and reshaping the sheltered space requires to be cognizant and aware of the real reasons why the change is necessary above all. I can feel a cool breeze trying to peek in, shyly and slowly beginning to invigorate every single corner of my widened broken heart. Always looking up, always looking forward to what the future might bring.
The work is never done. The labor required to continue my path still breathes on it own. Still alive, still moving, crawling and pounding my spirit. Even when the company salutes my being with ostentatious joy, I am still connected to my path. I have crossed the most menacing seas of loneliness to find you, welcome home.