Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Boy...

Deer should fear him!
     "Daddy, can I go with you?"...Those words were like music to my ears as I'd head out the door to hit the woods. Those simple words from a four year old planted the seeds to lifelong memories. I often wonder what would have happened if I told him no...Sometimes, I think that I pushed my love of the outdoors and wild places on him. Maybe I should've let him find his own way...But, when I think back over the last ten years and watched him grow, it's obvious that "it's" in him too. The outdoors are part of my son, maybe even more so than "it's" in me. He was bitten by the bug at an early age and his need for wilderness is obvious.

     He's changed so much over the years. From a curious little, pudgy pre-schooler to a lanky, sinewy young man. His drive for the woods and all things natural is uncanny. He just seems to get  "it" when it comes to the wilderness. Sometimes I wish his passion for the outdoors would bleed over into Algebra or Language Arts! I've watched him go from stumbling through the fields and woods and having to be carried over the brush piles and logs, to going almost undetected as he slinks through the trees like a cat. He is becoming self made...He's quiet and soft spoken and has a gentle heart that's easily hurt with harsh words or a stearn look from his Dad. But he beams with pride and excitement when talking about hunting, fishing, survival or being outdoors. At his age, I could only have wished to be the outdoorsman he has become.

2010 Buck
     He's paid his dues and put his time in among the trees. He's frozen and he's sweat over hunting. He's been mosquito bitten and bled for the chase. He can make fire and he knows where his meat comes from, whether it's a backstrap of a deer or a burger from McDonald's. He's never shyed away from butchering and has bloodied his hands. He can read the wind and the trails. He knows when to move and when to stay in the shadows. He's learned how to swing an ax and sight in a gun. He's developed hand eye coordination through hours of shooting a recurve bow and his shoulders have grown strong from  repetition.

     He has miles to go, but he's well on his way to being more of a woodsman than his Dad will ever be. He no longer needs me next to him in a blind or treestand and as a young man, he likes it that way. I wish I could say the same thing... Occasionally, I still get a step up on him, but my time is shorter now and his is long. I know the day is coming where I will be following him into the woods and he'll be helping me over the logs and through the trees and I wouldn't want it any other way. I couldn't be more proud of my son and the man he is becoming...Yeah, we've had some times out here, haven't we!

2011 Recurve Doe
     Happy Birthday Drew! Being your Dad is one of the greatest achievements in my life and I am forever grateful for our time shared in the woods and the memories we've made.


Love, Dad...