by Tim Smith
The Story: "Lost-Unable to find one's way; not knowing one's whereabouts". Have you ever felt that way? How about at 4:30 in the morning in the middle of the Alabama backwoods? Yours truly did not too long ago-let me explain.
This past December, my good friend Jason Cruise, Founder of the Outdoor Ministry Network and www.TheMissionVision.net came down to our place here in Alabama in order to film a hunt for a project he was working on.
Jason arrived on a Sunday night and the plan was to hit the ground running Monday morning. In turn, I devised a fool proof plan that included being in the perfect spot an hour and a half before daylight Monday morning that would get Jason, his cameraman (me) and our 872 pounds of gear in the tree before first light.
Just as I'd done many times before, I crossed the creek below the double buck hut, went up the big rocky hill and entered the trail next to the big oak. All I had to do was follow the old wash that ran from the top of the ridge to the bottom and the stand would be right there in front of me. Peace of cake-or so I thought.
As I entered the woods, dreams of Big Daddy Sad and his massive rack danced in my head. I knew without a shadow of a doubt this was the stand where Big Daddy would show himself and the death angel would pay Big Sad a visit on this fine morning. All I had to do was get us there. Well friends, as you've probably guessed by now, "there in lies the problem Peter." Ten minutes into this little soirée, I was as lost as a blind goose in a hailstorm and my head was spinning like the latch on an outhouse door. As Jason and I made our way down the "killin' ridge", I began to notice things did not look as familiar as they had in times past. In turn, I swept the area with my flashlight hoping to see something familiar, but as hard as I tried, nothing stuck out. "Awe crap", I thought to myself..."this AIN'T good." Figuring I must have made a
wrong turn, I swallowed my pride and told Jason we needed to back track and make our way back to the top of the ridge. By now I'm sweating like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs because of all the gear I'm lugging and I'm embarrassed beyond belief knowing what Jason must be thinking. After we lug all our gear to the top of the ridge, I tell Jason to stay put and I'll walk down by myself, locate the stand and come back and get him. Wouldn't you know it, this time I walk straight to the stand; I found it! We're back in business. With Jason now in tow (again) I make my way to the bottom of the ridge for the third time, and the feeling hits me (again). I'm off track-"somebody make the bad man stop!" "This can't be happening". As my light begins to wander a bit from left to right, I know my guest has read my mind and I hear him say in a kind, gentle, Christian voice..."Dude, you know you're killing me." Trying to comfort my guest, I assure him we're close...but inside I'm dying a slow painful death. A full ten minutes later, after making enough noise to scare off all animals within a 3-mile radius and more sweat on my part, I stumble across the stand.
The Word: There have been numerous times in my life when I wandered around in the dark. My typical response was to kick down a door and hope that was where I was supposed to go. You guessed it; time and time again I was wrong and even more lost. It was only after I understood and began to apply the words of Psalms 119:105 did I begin to find my way. The Psalmist relayed that God's word (the Bible) was a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. Without God's instruction in his life he was lost.
Alabama at Night!!!
Field Tip: You may recall I had stated I had been to the stand many times before. However, did I mention I had not accessed that stand before daylight? Not a smart move. As you probably well know, things look different in the dark and familiar landmarks aren't so familiar in the dark. So what can we do? There are several items that can help "light your path". One common item is the handheld GPS. Simply input the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of your stand and it will navigate you via waypoints right back to your stand on those dark mornings. Another item on the market is a light that attaches to the base of your stand and remotely flashes once a flashlight beam hits the built in sensor. These lights activate once the hunter gets within about 100 yards of his stand. However, the simplest, and in my opinion, the most efficient item is reflective tape or reflective trail tacks. Simply attach these little items to a tree trunk or low hanging limb about every 40 yards and let them "be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path".
Making Him known,
Field Tips is a light-hearted look at everything outdoors. The stories will make you laugh, the verses from God's Word will inspire you and it'll always provide a "tip" you can take into the deep woods. The best part is you can read it all in under two minutes (even if you're like me and a proud product of the Alabama Public School System).