It is officially Fall, and that means one important thing around our household. My wife will soon become what she (jokingly, I hope) refers to as a “Whitetail Widow” for a couple of months.
You see, I have a small seasonal hobby (i.e., maniacal obsession) known as bowhunting for whitetail deer. In my defense, she has known about my disorder since we met back in our high school days, so she knew what she was signing up for when she married an outdoorsmen.
Before I go on, let me state for the record that I hunt too much. Way too much, and my wife deserves better. She is a Saint, and if I get a vote she’s going straight to Heaven for the good work she is doing to control the rampant deer population. Sweetie Pie, when you read this (as I know you will), please know that I love you dearly and think you are the best!
But Honey, Deer Hunting is Good for Our Marriage…Experts Say So!
I have always known that I felt a real primal need to spend time in the woods during this time of the year. I thoroughly enjoy being outdoors, and I really do like chasing whitetails and trying to master the sport. But only recently did it really hit me that bowhunting is true therapy for me, and something I need to feed my mind.
I am a fan of Dan Miller who is a career coach and the all-around motivational guy behind the 48 Days network. I was reading his recent newsletter where he mentioned the idea of “Sitting for Ideas,” a term used by Andrew Carnegie to describe the hours he would spend sitting alone in a room, undistracted, to solve problems.
Likewise, Thomas Edison would go down to the water’s edge each morning, throw out his line – with no bait – and then watch the bobber for an hour until his thinking was ready for the day. Hen r y Ford insisted that his executives spend a great deal of their work day relaxing to allow them to dream up new ideas.
Even the Apostle Paul would purposely take long walks between cities to give himself time to think and reflect. See, it is Saintly to support my time in the woods!
The Outdoorsmen’s Version of “Sitting for Ideas”
As I was reading the article, I realized that I share at least one thing in common with all of these brilliant men. I like to sit in trees!
If you are a hunter, and Midwest bowhunter in particular, you know that our sport involves a lot of isolation. There is a reason my wife (and others) think I am crazy…a reason other than the fact that it is probably clinically true for a few months a year.
If you get serious about bowhunting, you will find yourself sitting in a treestand as much as an hour before the sun even rises in the morning. In the evening, you’ll often be 20 feet in the air until well after dusk. And your sits coul d last anywhere from two hours to a full 14-hour day (if your wife will let you out for an all-day hunt during the rut), often in freezing temperatures.
This time can be spent precisely as Carnegie and Edison described! Aside from tuning in when a twig cracks under the foot of a nearby animal or movement catches your eye, the majority of time spent hunting from a treestand consists of, well, nothing.
It is just you and God’s creation. Silence. Sunrises and Sunsets. Nothing to do but think, reflect and create in your idle mind. It is a period of true, beautiful peace.
Find Your Own Version of Sitting in a Tree
Now, I realize that not everyone who reads this article will have the desire to become a bowhunter (it’s already tough enough to find a good place to hunt). However, I bet you can find your own way to sit for ideas, clear your head and open up your creative thinking by “tuning out” for a while.
Here are some suggestions:
- Do some landscaping
- Take a quiet bath
- Play with your children
- Take long walks
- Put together a model car
- Go golfing by yourself and walk the course
- Take a hike in the woods
- Try yoga
- Listen to classical music in an empty room
- Go fishing
- Do some knitting
There are many ways to get away from all of life’s constant distractions and allow your mind to solve problems, create, and simply replenish itself.
And offer to watch the kids while your spouse gets their time. I guarantee your life and your marriage will benefit from a fresh mind, and you may just find enough Zen to maintain your composure when the buck of your dreams sneaks into view!
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau