December 27, 2001

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

It's time for New Year's Resolutions and yours truly has one this year. I plan to regain my sanity. That sounds like a pretty tough job you say? And what the heck does that have to do with the Outdoor Corner? Well that is how I plan to get my sanity back, by getting outdoors more often.

Life is filled with stress. There is always the worries of work, the constant buzz of the babies and other points of stress to numerous to mention. They seem to have taken their toll on me more of late than ever before and that's when it donned on me why. I have not been spending my normal allotted amount of time in the woods hunting. I have yet to get my bow back out since before firearms deer season. I have went walking for birds twice this year, but traditionally I would bird hunt just about every weekend that it was not 30 below. Quite simply I have not been outdoors enough.

If my wife reads this she'll suggest I go cut some firewood or some other work related outdoor activity so I'll try to make my case for hunting. If that does not work maybe I could go to the doctor and get a prescription to go hunting. That's right I think it is medicine to my soul. A friend of mine once said that the outdoors was his church, as we sat on the pond bank one morning catching giant blue gill as the sun was coming up. I'm not as educated in churchly methods as I should be and I hope that it's not inappropriate to mention it, but I'd say I have to agree. Times like that offer a perfect opportunity to reflect on life and maybe even to talk to God a little and I don't mean praying to see that big buck or catch that lunker bass. If nothing else time outdoors allows you to escape from the stress of life. There's not much to walking behind the dogs or sitting in the tree stand that is real worrisome. If you choose to hunt alone, as I often do, even during an eventful hunt where you see a lot, there is plenty of down time, which is quiet and thought free. It's time to daydream or simply to sift through your plans, your hopes and even your problems if you feel the need.

So the next time your loved one tells you they are going hunting, remember they probably need the break and should come home a little more relaxed and ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. Of course my wife says shopping does the same thing for her, so we may have to work out some type of agreement on how many times we can afford these mental escapes.

While I was getting pretty deep with my mental approach to hunting, I have to add a little here about the physical end of it as well. I turned 30 this summer and I bet I am about 30 pounds past my prime. I blame some of that on my inactivity (that and eating a see-food diet). That really made sense after I noticed an alarming trend in my spending habits as I did a year-end review of the checkbook. For the first year in a long time I had not made any major expense on hunting or fishing equipment. That's right there was nary a gun purchase or a new fishing combo. However on the other end of the spectrum, I spent that money on a new recliner for my living room. That speaks volumes for my exercise routine. So honey If you don't buy into my stress relief excuse, how about the physical benefits of walking miles in search of the few quail and pheasants left in Scotland County? They say bow hunting is like working out on a Bo-Flex exercise machine. Of course I can't guarantee that even if I went hunting everyday I ever would look nearly as muscular as those guys on the commercials. Oh well, if these excuses don't work maybe I can hope that the holiday cheer can get me out of the house at least a couple more times before the year is over.

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