Take time to observe

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I got a letter. Actually, it was an email, but it is the modern-day version of a letter. I want to call it a letter, because it was regarding reminiscing about the good old days. By the way, did you know if you combine good and old it becomes the word gold? Gold seems appropriate, because we value those gold old days much more than we did when we were experiencing them.

I’m not going to share the letter here, but I will discuss it. Why? Because it meant a lot to me, for one. Secondly, I think it is important to reflect on our past.

Now this isn’t a political piece that is looking at all the wrongdoings that may have occurred that lead to getting things right. So don’t worry. We can find those on television, the radio and the editorial sections of the newspaper. Instead, we want to individualize our reflection of the days gone by.

It worries me to an extent that although I am middle aged, the majority of comments I receive from people that read my reminiscing stories are usually older. Sadly, few others look back at their youth, I guess.

It may be funny, or it may be weird, but I seemed to have that sense when I was young as well. Even playing sports as a preteen and teenager, my dreams were of one day sharing those experiences with my future kids. I understood the importance of the moment I guess, even if the moment was a dove hunt with my dad and granddad, or paddling a pontoon boat in a pond fishing for bass.

Yes, I could just be the strange one. But I hope I am not. I hope that eventually my generation and the generations that follow understand this. It’s been said that you cannot truly experience life until you experience death. I don’t know if this is true in all cases. I do think you cannot experience life unless you know what life is.

We quickly become caught up in the world around us, without seeing the world around us. We notice the concrete jungle but not the butterfly on the garden plant. We see the cars fly by on the interstate and miss the fawn leaping in the field beside it. We gripe about the walk from the car to the office while it is raining, but no longer understand what looking up into to droplets falling feels like.

Our hunt, our chase, it is for something else now. Perhaps, once upon a time, the hunt was work. Catching fish meant the village and tribe didn’t go hungry that night. However, we have plenty now. We have learned how to maintain a bountiful sustenance. Hunting and fishing and just being in nature is no longer a burden. That ended long ago, longer than anyone I have ever known had to experience.

Now being in nature, hunting, and fishing should provide a different sustenance. Now it should feed the soul. It should nourish relationships between generations. It should provide strength to character, morality, ethicality and empathy.

So here is a challenge, one that is inspired by the letter. Take an hour. Don’t use it for errands, exercise, television or scrolling through social media. Take an hour and just sit. Sit beside a stream that you have never seen in person. Sit in a field. Sit on a mountaintop or a coastal inlet.

And look. Look for the things that are there that you never see. Look at the clouds floating above, or the swirls in the water below. Look at the crayfish, the dragonflies, the gulls or the squirrels. Look with passion and intrigue.

And then, do it again.