We are a poor society. Not in that we lack bank accounts or possessions, but in the fact we are distracted. Our preoccupation with inferior things has left us impoverished.
Think how many sunrises go unnoticed or sunsets we ignore. Count the times we pass scenery so magnificent a poet couldn’t describe it, yet we’re unaware. Our constant running pell-mell has left us visually impaired, not physically, but philosophically.
While nature’s beauty blooms all around us, our anxious eyes are diverted to billboards, television screens, marketing campaigns or some other man-made contraption. Compared to the woodsmen before us, we are paupers. We are comfortable, but our perception is poverty-stricken.
We have become bankrupt, because we are blind.
The hunters of yesteryear talked of trees, fenceposts and rock formations. Their writings included detailed descriptions of nature’s common things. They saw the outdoors as a collection of simple masterpieces. Woodpecker to Whip-poor-will — few things went unnoticed.
From a uniquely colored rock to the Barn Swallow, the simple things were photographed and included in the records of outdoor adventures. They were not just hunters; they were naturalist who saw what others didn’t. To prevent blindness they looked for grandeur in what others ignored.
So should we.
For hidden behind our busy schedules and text messages is a limitless world to be explored and learned from.
Over 100-years ago John Muir penned in Our National Parks, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease.”
(And why was John Muir such an advocate of wilderness preservation? Because he suffered an eye injury that could have left him blind. It is said that after being confined to a darkened room for six whole weeks, “…he saw the world — and his purpose — in a new light.”)
From the naked sycamore to the twisted oak, the woods offers insights much more meaningful than the artificial advancements of technology. The moss laden fencepost, a heap of tangled barbed wire, the abandoned cabin, the lone oak, the dying ash, a flitting Blue Jay — a trip to the forest can give us back our sight.
Some have asked, “Why do you like to shed hunt?” Well, to be truthful, because there is so much more to be found than just an antler.
What It Means To See
My Grandfather’s favorite hymn is, “How Great Thou Art”. Although written over 125-years ago, its meaningful words were obviously written by someone who learned to see.
The second verse reads:
“When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.”
“Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”
A walk in the woods helps us see Someone much greater than ourselves.
Do you think this is what Fred Bear suggested when he said, “I feel like one of God’s chosen people, having had the opportunity to share, with many fine companions, these varied and lovely realms of our natural world.”
Society may judge someone’s value by how much they have accumulated. But in life, success can’t be defined by a bank account or name. Whether photographer, outdoorsman or follower of Christ, there are those who are considered rich because of what they can purchase, and there are also those whose wealth is amassed by what they have perceived.
So in reality, who is richer?
I choose to believe it’s the man who can see.
So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” – Mark 10:51