This I Believe: The Love of a Father
I am an only child. To one’s surprise I am not quite the stereotypical “only” child. I was never spoiled with barbies and dresses. I was however spoiled with hunting equipment and clothes. As long as I can remember, I have been out in the woods or on the lake with my father. To some that may not mean anything, but for me it has molded who I am.
Through all of the duck, goose, deer, pheasant, turkey, fox, and coyote hunting and perch, bluegill, crappie, and walleye fishing I have had more experiences than I can even remember. However, those that I can remember are the best experiences and memories I hold. Whether it is the experiences I have had with my father, nature, or God, they hold the most meaning in my life.
Memories of my past hunting and fishing experiences with my father include numerous funny, sentimental, and life-changing recollections. But mostly I always think about how him being able to just hunt and fish with me mean to him. Every year I fish one or two fishing tournaments with him. He does brag about how his daughter fishes with him, but I seem to feel that he enjoys the hunting experience with me much more. He is not the typical dad that tells me over and over that he is so proud of me. He only has said it a few times in my life, but I am all the more grateful for that. To many that would not seem appealing, but for me it means so much more when the word is not overused. He said he was so proud of me when I shot my first deer, and also when I shot the two bucks to follow that. However, even on the years that I did not get the opportunity to harvest a deer, he always made it known that he was obliged and honored that I would take my time out to hunt with him. This made me see the proud dad he is of me. I also can remember the few times in my life that my father has cried. A few deaths, and when I shot my first dear. I could not have asked for a more perfect instance when I shot my first buck. I was sitting with my dad on a ground stand, and he witnessed the entire thing. At this moment in time, after I shot my buck, my dad shed a few tears. I have never seen him so proud and in high spirits.
As for nature memories, one can only see such beautiful sights if much time is spent outdoors. One of the most elegant sights I have ever seen was the sunset coming off the river while I was sitting in our duck blind. Once again this was an experience I shared with my father, and he even said how outrageously stunning the sky was. I have also been just taken away by the blue skies and clouds, the wind, and even the rain and snow while sitting in my deer stand all day. Sometime in the day if we are hunting or fishing, my father seems to bring up the beauty of nature, and always takes a little time to reflect on how lucky we are to be able to witness such magnificence.
For God, the realization of how much he was with me in the outdoors also was brought to my attention through my father. He does go to church, but he believes that God is more present with him in nature. After hunting with him for a few years, I began to realize just how right he was. I experienced feelings and thoughts from different sights and sounds I experienced in the woods. My father always made sure I was to thank God for the opportunity to be able to harvest whatever animal it may have been that we were hunting together.
All in all, this may not seem much to someone that has not experienced the thrill of hunting and fishing, but for me it is more the love my father shows me through all these experiences. His love has guided me to see the beauty of nature and find God in the nature while we were amidst in the wilderness. Love is a strong word. For me, it is a blessed thing that my father shares for me. I would not be who I am today if I did not have a father that loved and cared for me as he does, and pushes for me to experience the world in a different manner than everyday work, through our hunting and fishing experiences.
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