We are all creatures of habit. We find security in our rituals, no matter how strange they may be. I think a lot of the ideas that we carry into our “adult” lives were manifested in our youth. The more that we try to “put away childish things“, the more we long for them…
Not gonna lie, I still have a hard time sleeping the night before I head out on a hunt. The excitement is just far to much. Even at this very moment, if I close my eyes and concentrate real hard, I can feel the icy morning air fill my lungs, I can taste the last sip of scalding hot coffee, feel the weight of my pack, even hear the tiny “snick” of my action closing on a fresh round. Maybe I live in a dream state someplace between reality and memory (We all know that our memories are almost always cooler then what actually happens. I think that’s a trick our mind plays on us to keep us coming back for more.), and if that is the case, you can’t pry me out of this reverie with a 8-ton Warn winch and a hot stick. Come next Saturday, I will have possessed a hunting license for 21 years. In that, I started to think about how much different my life has become since those wasted days of my youth. Yes, just shy of 34 I’m happily married for 7+ years, have an awesome 5 year old son, a mortgage, bills, hell I even have life insurance. But I’m still the same “kid” from way back when…
Ever since I rode my first dirtbike, on road trips I always day dreamed about flying down the shoulder of the road and jumping every crossroad that met up with the highway, even putting my hand out the window and using the wind to help me visualize just how high and far I was gonna go. In an essence I had successfully transformed the whole world into the rhythm section of the coolest motocross track ever imagined. After a good motorcycle crash, I learned that maybe I wasn’t going to be the next Jeremy McGrath, but it didn’t stop my need to pretend. If you see a guy driving down highway 95 in an old ford truck, hand out the window, making 2-stroke noises, don’t call him crazy… You can just call me Grant.
When I was younger, we spent quite a bit of time in the summer fishing at local lakes. A crappy bobber and a dozen night crawlers was all it took to burn up those dog days of summer. As I fished more, and started to learn (more so watching fishing shows, and take everything as gospel) I parted ways with going “fishing for fish” and decided that I needed to be an angler, and not just a fishermen. $1 worms got replaced with $6 Rapalas, and $10 K-mart fishing “poles” got replaced with $200 G. Loomis fishing “rods”. Some success was had, and I am still known to throw a spinner bait til I get a sore arm, but by the end of the day I end up sitting on the dock with my boy, pitching a worm and bobber to bluegill too small to even be called bait. That is what made me fall in love with fishing, it taught me patience, it taught me resilience, and most importantly it taught me to laugh and enjoy my surroundings. I hope that it has the same effect on him. Plus it is almost impossible to not have the time of your life playing the “who can catch the smallest one” game.
SNOW. I’m sure some of you just cringed at the word, by now you know that I have quite the obsession with those tiny crystallized water particles, I definitely don’t suffer from chionophobia ( yep you guessed it! $5 word from extreme dislike or fear of snow. First thing you have ever learned from one of my blogs right?) I have always loved snow, from November hunting, to Christmas eve late night strolls through downtown Coeur d’Alene with my Mom, snow has always added a certain beauty to the memories. Or maybe it was the time of year… I am not a holiday person per se, but let me explain. I am not a big fan of receiving gifts, even though I love to give them. My favorite holidays are gift free ones, that is why I have always loved Thanksgiving (and no it isn’t because I was born the day after it.) any time people gather to spend time with each other, eat great food, and be thankful, is my idea of what a holiday should be. The smell of turkey and home made pecan pie fills the house, the wood stove warms your bones, and every time that the door opens you look to see how much snow has collected on your walkway. The only things required are a health appetite, and a smile. And as the night wares on, and pie is sliced everyone sits together as family. As a kid I waited all year for it, and I still do now.
Yes as time goes on, people do change. As I get a little longer in the tooth, I realize that I have changed. With responsibility and age a boy grows into a man, he who was once fueled on emotion and impulse, becomes more collected and intrinsic. We adapt our lifestyles, we think much longer about decisions, and we seek True North, the absolute truth. But as we grow in age, as well as spiritually, we have to remember that our youth is what made us who we are today. Make a snow angel, throw a snowball, take an extra minute to watch the sunrise as opposed to looking for horns, laugh til it hurts, have that extra piece of pie. When its all said and done, those moments, the ones where you regressed back to childhood excitement, are the ones that will often mean the most.
I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings.
-Grant Willoughby 11/19/2016-