Welcome back. Hunting season has drawn quietly to a close. This season was the first of hopefully many that was not focused mainly on the pursuit of game but my children's hunting experiences. My wife also made her return to the woods after a few years off, staying in the house and/or cabin to tend to cooking chores and the children. The kids were usually good for only a short while out in the woods and so my wife kept the fireplace, and hot chocolate, warm awaiting their early returns. This year saw the beginning of the next generation of hunters in our family spread their wings and join us in the hunt. And so, these past few days were dedicated more to their experience outdoors and the time spent with parents and grandparents without distraction than to actual hunting. I, along with others, passed on some opportunities to harvest an animal in exchange for my kids being able to see those same animals. Their beaming faces and the excitement of the moment, of being in such close proximity to the wild, was satisfaction enough for a lifetime.
However, in the failure to harvest a deer, success grew. My kids tried harder each day to see the deer sooner and sooner. They began to try to anticipate from where the animals would come or at what time. They tried to put the lessons they learned just the day before to use. They were never discouraged by the lack of success and merely tried harder the next day. They looked forward to trying harder, to improving, to persisting. They were not discouraged. They were determined.
In the last few days, my children taught me plenty. They taught me several lessons from my childhood that I had forgotten, and thinking about it now, probably most of us have forgotten. They taught me to stay focused and determined, to not give in. They sure didn't. They also taught me the joy of discovery, as they happily went about the task at hand or sat patiently listening. Everything to them was new and exciting. My kids did not worry about the day ending or problems at work. They did not spend their day before it even started. They were just happy to spend time and to be doing something together. And when that something turned into nothing, they simply shrugged, tried to figure out what could have been done differently, and looked forward to trying again tomorrow. Life had returned to being simple.
And that is exactly what I hope to continue to do, return to being simple. To take each day for what it is and try harder tomorrow. To not worry about the things I can not control, but figure out the things I can. To not waste the time I have on days that have not arrived yet. Being simple.