Fall is Coming

It’s that time of year where we’re losing daylight every day. I’ve felt the chill in the air the last few weeks and know that fall is coming. As I try to take a step back and take it all in, I do it with mixed emotions. Fall has been the season when many of my most cherished memories were created. I’ve witnessed things in the wild that are simply unexplainable to most. I’ve laid on my cot in our tent, miles from nowhere and listened to the coyotes howl all night. As I’ve trudged through the woods in the dark to reach my destination I’ve listened to the loons in the background, reminding me that daylight was fast approaching.

I’ve watched deer cautiously pick their way through the timber in search of food and safety. I’ve sat and listened to the deafening silence only to have it broken by a distant gunshot. I’ve witnessed more than one person can possibly fathom, but I continue to go back every year in search of something that is only attainable to me.

When I’m in the woods I’m totally alone. Thoughts of today, yesterday and many years ago dash through my mind. I don’t get in the way as the thoughts run rampant. I don’t try to interfere when disturbing things creep in. Instead, I acknowledge all thoughts and let them go as they came.

Fall was also the time of year when the world around me came crumbling down. The exact day was November 15. Unfortunately it will be a day that will stick with me for the rest of my life. We all have lucky days and up until 2006 the day November 13 always greeted me with a feeling of suspense. I knew that the 13th had always treated me well. Many memories had been created on that day that I will cherish for as long as I live. I’ll never forget the long battle I won with a deer that I had pursued for two solid years. I was going on fumes, but I pushed forward. I wanted to go the extra mile that so many others wouldn’t. I wanted to prove that I could achieve a goal that I had set, even if I was the only one that knew about it. When I finally reached the goal it was a miserable fall day. The snow was so thick it made walking all but impossible. The trees were overloaded with the weight of the snow and visibility was cut down to a few feet. I was enclosed by the trees of the forest. I was in my own world, if only for a few hours.

Three years ago I had the same thing happen. I found myself in a place that I had never imagined. I knew that I would have to set new goals. I would have to journey down a road with hopes of finding myself along the way. I would need to find the parts that I lost touch with. In the immediate aftermath I wasn’t sure what to do. Within a few months I decided that I would start writing again and see where it would take me. I was fortunate enough to write a few pieces for a local publication and the ball began to roll from there. Shortly after that I began writing an outdoor column for a monthly magazine. When everything was going well I decided to take on the daunting task of putting a book together. From the outside it might seem easy to many. I thought the same thing. Many people might not believe it, but the actual writing part was fairly simple. Putting the rest of the pieces of the puzzle together have been a very trying experience. Without the help of my friends and family I would never have been able to accomplish the task.

The last couple weeks have made me look back on that miserable day in 2006 when the skies were gray and I saw no light in the darkest tunnel I had ever traveled through. Every day came and went without a hint of happiness in the near future. I never gave up. I used the gentle guidance from my friends and family to start over with the things that I enjoyed the most. I began writing again because it was therapeutic for me. As one thing led to the next, the pages of my book began to roll out from under my fingers. Without the horrible fall a few years ago I’m pretty sure I would still be stuck in the same rut. Although I was enjoying life and I was perfectly content, something was missing. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I’ve finally begun to figure all of that out.

I was losing touch with myself. I was making concessions all in hopes of pleasing someone else. I was becoming someone who I really wasn’t. I had cut back on doing the things that brought happiness and satisfaction to my life. In all reality I would have done anything that I could have. Looking at it now, I realize that no matter what I did, it never would have been good enough. I gave up a home that I absolutely adored. I had wonderful neighbors with a cozy little place to find comfort every night. I was really happy. I stopped shooting archery for a while because I thought it was the right thing to do. I continued shooting in the yard, but I stopped traveling. I did it because I thought I was doing the right thing.

Now, three years later I’m doing things that I always dreamed about. A few months from now I’ll be able to look back on it and thank my lucky stars for everything that has happened on my journey up to this point. We might not always like what is dealt to us, but we must find a way to accept it, deal with it and find a new and different way on the other side of the new doors that we must walk through. I’ve learned that nobody has a perfect life. We all have our ups and downs that we must deal with. I do this on a daily basis. However, I now try to do the things that will help me toward another goal.

I haven’t written in a long time and I feel like this is a jumbled mess so I’m going to hang it up for the night. If you happen to be up in the early mornings the next few weeks take a deep breath when you step outside and welcome the chill that embraces you. It’s the ending of one thing and the beginning of another. Remember that not all endings are bad. Rather, the end of one thing is the beginning of something else. This fall will be the beginning of yet another step in my miraculous journey through life.  I’m like a goose that flies over every fall.  I know where I”m going on my journey, but each and every step to get there is different from the last.

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