by Zach DeBruin

Growing up in my family, hunting is always something we talk about. It honestly takes up the table talk for most of the year, whether it is bow hunting a few miles from home or going to Colorado to chase elk around the mountains. I always thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to hop up in an 18-foot tree stand with my dad and take down any animal that crossed our path. As a six-or seven-year-old child, I don’t understand I had to have patience, persistence and just a little bit of craziness to get up before the sun itself and sit alone for hours on end.

This story is not about the hunt, though. It’s about experiencing the beauty of this Earth. Sure, it may be a little difficult to get into the groove of getting up so early, but God, it’s worth it. Being so close to nature, sitting in silence waiting for your game to come within reach, it’s humbling.

Seeing the sun come up as the day wakes, or watching it set as everything around you slows down, it makes you realize there is a God above who made all of this exactly how it is; He said it was perfect, so who are we to deny that? The calm flow of the autumn air, the sweet smell of the dew on the leaves of an old oak, the creaking sounds of the forest itself waking up. All you can do is sit there and soak in every little bit of it. And when I say the forest is waking up, I mean it. Every animal you can think of is beginning to rise from their beds and shake off the chilling dew of the morning, continuing on as if they have their own routine. Ever since the first time I sat down in a tree stand, I have wondered how so much beauty could be held in such a familiar place. If you asked some people what they think beauty is, they would probably say somewhere exotic or name a person they think is beautiful; little do they know there is so much unseen elegance right outside their door.

To wrap this whole thing up, I am going to recommend going out and just sitting in the forest for even a half hour by yourself. Don’t worry about work or school. Turn off your phone, maybe take a book to read, just leave all of your distractions at home. Give yourself some time to realize the splendor that waits for you just outside of your busy, stressful life.