At the beginning of deer season my senses are heightened. There’s no doubt the main reason is because I have been absent from the tree stand for several months. This is one reason I appreciate how hunting seasons have beginnings and endings. One gives time to recoup and review and the other spawns possibility and excitement. Both are needed.
When I return to the woods after an extended time away, I am always more sensitive to everything around me. The colors seem more vivid, the air seems freshly filtered, and every member of nature is expanding its territory, making the woods fuller of the essence of life. And I get to watch it, afresh and anew, from my elevated perch. Many times, early in the year, I catch myself forgetting about why I’m there and instead enjoying everything periphery to my purpose.
I wish that same awareness stayed with me throughout the hunting season. Unfortunately, as the season progresses, I find myself losing my sense of joyful wonder and become more focused on the hard, cold, task at hand. And even though the prize is wonderful, I wonder if I’m missing part of it when I don’t remember everything that came together to make it happen. It’s no different than a good story. While we want to know the beginning and the end; what makes the story memorable is what happens between the two. It’s the things that describe and modify it. It is in the adverbs and adjectives that give stories their place in our memory. It’s not in the start or the finish but in the walk between the two. And the more adverbs and adjectives the walk has, the greater the story becomes for us and for those who hear us tell it.
Life also has a beginning and an end. These are two things about existence that all of us share. What makes us different, however, are the things that describe and modify each of our lives and the particular places these descriptions fit in. It is God’s DNA code of unique living for each of us. It is the moments between the beginning and the end. It is what makes life meaningful, relevant, and full. What we must remember is a life is not made up of decades or years, but of days. And while we may have a desired goal for each day, the real living and the real memories will not come from checking off that noun but from the adverbs and adjectives that will give that day something for us to remember.