Using The Outdoors As A Diversion To Life’s Troubles

If you mentioned the word “bailout” to me a few weeks ago the imagery the word created would have more likely involved some poor sap with pail in hand dealing with a leaky boat.   I don’t know about you, but I am really getting fed up with all the negative news we are being bombarded with these days.   The cost of living is getting out of hand.   Taxes are going up.   Our economy is circling the drain.   An unfavorable candidate to us gun owners is likely to gain the White House.   What more can possibly go wrong?

Indeed, more so than ever before this fall season is coming at the absolute perfect time.   I always look at my time spent in the deer stand as therapy for my soul, but this year hunting season also represents a respite from the otherwise daily grind known as life.   Seriously, go to the local coffee shop and folks don’t talk about the weather so much these days.   Instead, the focus is on where this world is going to hell…more specifically, how is our life going to [negatively] change in the months and possibly years to come.

I was talking to a good friend of mine tonight who happens to be a local farmer.   He asked if I was prepared to hunt deer this fall with lots of corn still standing in the fields unpicked.   I said, huh?   The harvest season has just begun for soybeans here in southern Minnesota, what makes him think corn is going to be delayed.   The news he told me is simply depressing to most corn farmers…but it will also be depressing for those of us who hunt in the agricultural zones.

The fact is farmers just can’t harvest their corn at any particular moisture level.   Well, they used to back when energy costs were low…but we know how that has changed.   To store harvested corn so it doesn’t mold or spoil requires certain low moisture percentages often attained by mechanically drying the corn.   In most situations this means using liquid propane (LP) gas.   Of course, there is one other old-time method that simply involves letting the corn dry down longer by standing out in the field.   This year the farmer I spoke to expects to spend nearly $25,000 in fuel costs alone, so the more dry-down achieved in the field will ultimately save him money in the long run.

I gotta say there’s no doubt about it we are living in some extraordinary times.   The pessimist in me wants to just get depressed about everything and do lots of complaining to anyone who will listen.   On the other hand, the optimist side tries to balance things out and simply go with the flow realizing that, for the most part, there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it anyway.

This fall when I am running my short trapline I won’t be thinking so much about how my retirement investments have tanked in the markets during recent weeks.   When I’m deer hunting I won’t fret about the fact our family just doesn’t eat out as often as we once did…in an effort to save some money for groceries.   I certainly won’t think much about politics when I shoulder my Ruger Red Label O/U on a flushing pheasant.   Likewise, I’ve promised myself that time spent outdoors this fall — no matter what I may be doing — is just the sort of distraction I need right now.   And my hunch is I won’t be the only one using this time spent outdoors dwelling on more positive facets of life.

I am a firm believer that the outdoors is my psychotherapist.   It’s where I do my most serious contemplating about what is truly important in life.   Oh, sure, the grind of life can easily let a person get down if you allow that to happen.   But when you’re outdoors a lot of what you think is important…well, once put into perspective…it just isn’t.

This fall I hope the season we are entering will provide you with plenty of opportunities to forget about all the troubles of life so instead you can dwell on the enjoyment of what really matters.

2008 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.