“If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.” -Robert Baden-Powell
This last October I joined my sister for my first ever hunting experience. This meant a 4:30am alarm, all day scouting, and late night returns for dinner to fall asleep for another 4:30 start. For eight days. Yikes!
I look back now and realize I learned more about observing life that week than I have in a long time. In return, I’m able to recognized inspiration like little gems hiding just at the peripheral of my sight that, if I turn my head and see, I capture the ruby or sapphire.
The entire eight days my sister and I would ‘scan’ for life. It didn’t matter whether we were driving, walking through the trees, or sitting near a field or stream, we spent the entire time straining our eyes to see more. To catch slight movements or the tell tale change of color when you see fur instead of trees or grass.
Despite their large size, elk are surprisingly difficult to spot.
Even more frustrating, there’s an entire herd that likes to hang out on the hill opposite where I live, but the land’s private. The silly beasts sit there all day taunting me. Around here, mule deer will jump in front of cars just to fill your freezer but elk…are not that stupid.
So we spent an exuberant amount of time searching. As the week progressed, I got better at picking out animals: birds, squirrels, mice, turkeys, deer…all sorts of things…but no elk.
As the last day of the season ended, we still hadn’t found an elk. So we called it for the year and headed back to the car on the four-wheeler. After dropping me off, my sister headed back for Nate who’d come out for the day. She found him watching a moose. The massive creature wasn’t more than 100 yards from the trail and we’d missed it on our way out! A moose! Of all things to miss!
I already knew, but this incident reinforced, how easy it is to miss life around me.
It’s too easy to focus straight ahead. We get in our cars and focus on the road to get to work but we miss our neighbor waving as we pass. We become ‘tunnel visioned’ by our daily routine and it bores us into missing the inspiration that occurs constantly.
I guess I need more practice at taking in my surroundings I want to see the sunrise, the snow fall, the man who helps an older woman across the road…the list is endless.
What do you miss when you’re so focused on the road to work?