Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Outdoor Devotion - Amongst 'Em

I love to wade when fishing. Whether it's the frothy surf of Cape Point, the meandering current of the New River or the murky waters of a local farm pond. There's something uniquely special about what I call "being amongst 'em." For example, several years ago a couple buddies from and I headed down to the Uwharrie River near Denton to fish for bass and bream. We had our ultra lights and small tackle boxes full of rapalas, beetle spins, rebels, rooster tails and other micro sized lures. There was no need for neoprene or breathable waders as it was a hot July afternoon and the cool coffee-colored waters felt great. We had a successful trip as we caught numerous largemouth, panfish and even a couple smallies. But what really made the afternoon was being smack dab in the middle of the fish's environment.

As much as I enjoy wading I also love to bowhunt. What began as a way to prolong the deer season (in the central region of NC bow season opens approximately 2 months before gun season), quickly evolved into a passion. I bought my first bow off a clearance rack at the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh. I paid $75 for a brand new, bare bones, PSE F2 Maxis cam and spent twice that accessorizing it and purchasing a couple dozen Eastons. The first time I shot it at my friend Rusty's house the arrow struck soundly into his 3D buck target and I was hooked.

I practiced for several months and readied myself for the upcoming season. Rus helped me hang a couple stands on some property I'd acquired access to and a couple weeks after opening day I finally had a chance to hunt. I shimmied up into a huge split oak and
began my vigil. A hour or so later I heard the crunch, crunch, crunch of a critter walking through the woods behind. Thinking it was yet another squirrel looking for its mast supper, I disregarded the sound and resume my watch. The snap of a twig or limb caught my attention again and with it additional footsteps, this time closer. My heart beat increased as I realized this animal, whatever it was, was no squirrel. I craned my neck and strained my eyes, looking down the trail that headed from the hardwoods to the cornfield my location overlooked. It was a deer, actually three deer, a doe with two small fawns and my heart began pumping wildly, sweat poured off my forehead and my knees began to quiver. They walked under the oak in which I was perched. eased into the field and began eating grain. I could see the rise and fall of their lungs as they breathed, their eyes blink as they constantly surveyed their surrounds, the twitch of their tails as they repelled the flies that were beleaguering them. I could even hear the crunch of corn as they chewed their supper. I never thought about pulling back my bow, being so close to these beautiful, wild creatures was quite enough for that hunt.

The common theme between wading and hunting is the idea of being "amongst 'em". Being in close proximity to your prey intensifies the experience. This also brings to mind a spiritual truth that is very applicable to our walk with Christ. The closer our proximity to God, the more time we spend in His Word, the more often we reflect or mediate on His Truths, the more time we spend in prayer, conversing with our Creator, the more enjoyable, the more vibrant our life will be. A life lived within close proximity with God. Nothing can be more rewarding.

"Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be." (Old Spiritual, Author Unknown)

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:8

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