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.
Soft light after dawn shined through the seemingly open wooden window. A humid cool mist tried to crawl into the room as the ceiling fan declared war dispersing its presence across the wooden space. Light blue curtains moved gently with the circulating current of air created by the fan’s fury.
A mess of sheets and pillows decorated the sanctuary owned by a tired soul, overwhelmed mind and a heart beating intensely for self awareness. Trees and stars witnessed, approved and protected her hiding.
The shelter made by a brown weathered wood cabin, covered with millions of deep green forest leaves; preserved the aromas of fear and abandonment throughout the years. She felt that the cabin protected any doubt of the sudden resemblance of a once dreamed life becoming real.
Time continued escaping from her fingertips just as the breakfast nook clock tic tock-ed, over and over without any hesitation of stopping.
Aware of not having time to waste but sure that now, finally her dreams would never escape from her life, a plan began devising itself and ideas started to flourish in her my mind.
Cooler and dryer weather conquered the climate during the summer. While preparing the coffee percolator and washing left over dishes from previous nights, she continued to sink her thoughts on the idea of wild animal pursue. The deeper she entered in the sudden need of practicing and understanding the art of becoming a predate, the more she became aware of where it was coming from.
Earth smell started impregnating the cabin as the rain started pouring down, she paused her movements, closed her eyes and listened to the melodies of sounds resonating throughout the cabin. Rain drops falling on the tree leaves created patterns of familiar tunes from her past, from her childhood. Memories of recipes, dishes, fruits, pots and pans came to live in her mind and as if she was controlled by a spiritual force she began reaching for a soup pot.
Soup and rain always paired up nicely in her life. Matching feelings with weather and food always seemed to be one of her favorite things to do.
The dirt road headed its way, away from the cabin towards the woods. The big tractor tires had dimpled the ground, and busted a tree truck out of the ground a couple of days before. She remembered the cloud of dust it formed right in the middle of a clear area of the woods. Now, the rain will settle and clean everything. Firewood was chopped with an old ax and left piled up near the campfire. She remembered how that day, her mind continued to drift away as she was pulling more branches out of the pile of dead trees. The green scenery covered every view and sweat clustered around her cheeks. Taking her hat off to catch a breath, she realized how much work she had done.
She knew she was going to be alone after the weekend, so she cherished every second of her friends presence. Closing the afternoon sun doing chores around the house always melted her heart and gave her a feeling of accomplishment. That afternoon, the woods looked so beautiful. She decided to go for a walk, she sat on a dead tree that had fallen during past storms and waited. Not sure of what exactly she was wanting for, she still did.
Silence in the woods turns out to be loud. The sound of nature dominates your ears. It can be beautiful and relaxing, but at the same time it could be loud and overwhelming. Specially when trying to decipher a specific sound out of all the others. The wind moves the leaves on the trees, squirrel acrobatic movements distract you constantly, bird chirps try to take over and fish creating ripples in the creek also gets your attention. In the distance the squawks of bigger birds overcome all other sounds for seconds at a time, whistling woods-ducks sing and fly by clapping on their wings, cicadas play music for the spectacular sunset showtime, crickets begin their concert and mosquitos land on your ear to add sport to the background noise. Singling out an Osceola turkey wing flap right before it climbs up a roost could turn out to be a hard task, but she did.
Sitting on her porch, waiting for the soup to finish cooking she couldn’t help but think how far she has gone in terms of living her life like she wants it. The resistance of energy surrounding her life blinded the essence of living. Now, freedom drives her life. Battles fought in her past didn’t cause an affray in her present anymore. An opening for new beginnings and new acquisition of knowledge of the world outdoors created, geared up and powered her unstoppable drive.