Let me first say a big "Thank you" to our veterans. When I actually sit down and think about the freedom that we have in this country I am humbly grateful that God allowed me to be born here. I am also humbled by the price that has been and is continuing to be paid so that I have that freedom. In this day and time, words like freedom do not seem to have the same value when spoken as they did years ago. We unknowingly take for granted what we really are blessed with. There are men and women in the middle east right now putting their life on the line so that I could sit in the woods hunting whitetail today. How fortunate we are.
My second thank you goes to Ida. Ida, the tropical depression that started in the gulf and decided to make a very slow visit to southeastern NC was a bitter-sweet sight. It was sweet in the sense that the lakes and rivers here are still extremely low. In fact the water around the boat house at our lake house in Bladen County is inches deep in areas that were three to four foot deep two years ago. The forecast is for 8-13 inches of rain over the next few days....so I cannot complain too much. The bitterness comes to play when I look at the date - November 11, 2009. We are in the peak of the rut in our region. Every article I have read, every hunting almanac, lunar charts, and even the trail cameras have indicated that this was the day to be in the woods. In fact, Field and Stream stated that there would be no better day to deer hunt this year than this one. None of the predictors expected Ida to play a visit. In fact in looking at the forecast as late as Monday (11/9) it was obvious that the perfect hunting day was just two days away. We were all wrong. I awoke this morning to the sound of rain against the windows....truthfully it sounded more like a waterfall cascading off a mountain cliff. Determined I arose and headed out. I made the smart decision to hunt a ground blind near a creek - I say this is smart due to the fact that the wind was picking up as was the rain - hunting from shelter made more sense then 20 foot up a tree sitting on a lock on. I settled into the blind about 45 minutes before first light and made certain that my cameras were set and that I was ready. The rain slacked off prior to dawn and I began to think..."this could be good." God in his infinite wisdom knew that I needed sometime to reflect and be humbled today - for the sky opened up and it rained the likes of which I have not seen in years. To make matters worse the wind had now shifted directions and I was cold. I remained cold, wet, and determined for another four hours. Before heading back to the truck though I began thinking about our soldiers. I cannot explain to you why this image kept running through my head - but nonetheless it was there. I kept picturing soldiers sitting late into the night on look out for the post in a cold miserable rain like I was in today. I kept thinking about the fact that at any moment I can get up and leave this spot and there would be no harm to anyone, whereas if the soldier leaves his post - the enemy could prevail, lives could be lost, and freedom could be defeated. It was with these thoughts that I realized I was not as cold as I thought I was.
To those who fight today and those fought before - a heart felt thank you - and Ida thank you for helping with drought and forcing me to realize how fortunate I really am.