The outdoors is spiritual to those of us who live for a day in the woods or on the water.
Outdoors folks get a special feeling that for many who are not involved is hard to understand. For even the outdoors person it’s unexplainable, an internal body state of peace and warmth. But it comes as second nature and it comes from the heart. I see it every day and am blessed to feel the impact and power it provides.
That feeling has a God-driven quality and it seems those who know “the feeling” are the first to get in line to help their neighbors, volunteer without needing reward and do the right thing. They jump up to get involved and most times do not even have to be asked. It’s not what they do but rather who they are. Outdoors folks are givers.
This past week we got to see it first-hand with those who gave their time, resources and effort to help those in the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey dumped massive amounts of rain on that area. Jon boats, bass boats and recreational style boats came out in full force and hundreds of folks were rescued from the rising water as a result.
Folks drove across the country; I had many friends who were there, who took hiatus from their jobs, gathered up supplies and headed south. Many were towing their boats, packing trailers and trucks with tools and supplies and donating their time and money just to help others. That is the feeling.
They were not worried about getting credit or if someone would recognize their efforts. They just showed up because it was the right thing to do – helping their fellow man. Hunters, anglers and all kinds of other outdoors folks were just doing what they do, but doing so in a life-changing manner versus just for pleasure. Their life skills were put into action. There is something surreal in this and much deeper than sitting on a bank watching a bobber.
The makeshift “Cajun Navy” showed the true American spirit and to the best of my recollection there were no negatives. No fanfare, just folks helping folks. Law enforcement, government agencies and just plain folks working together for the common good.
Seeing what is right with America and what makes it special was personified in full force. No question, we have our blemishes and a few warts here and there, but this pitching together showed the power of the American spirit. The real message is America is alive and well; all we have to do is scratch the topsoil, remove the chaff, and the heart of Americans come to the forefront. It seems our best work is done when we are not worried with who gets the credit.
Focusing the energy of the human spirit on the positive and doing something good feels good to both those who do it and those who see it. It is truly contagious.
Locally I have seen this same spirit in action and have seen outdoors folks pull together for the common good. Whether it’s a park project like the Sam Leman Pavilion or bank restoration or a food drive or kids fishing derbies or something as simple as bank cleanup, outdoors people show their true colors time and time again. The internal reward each volunteer receives is far greater than what is built or repaired. It is truly much deeper.
We still have a lot of work to do. A person or two is all it takes. Find a cause, enlist your friends and those of like minds and get after it. The human spirit is powerful medicine and you just might make a difference. Outdoors folks are definitely a unique breed and I am proud of that linage.
The Prairieland Anglers kids fishing derby sign-up deadline is Sunday. It’s free and open to the public but you have to sign up. Contact Roger Hagar at 309-275-4494 for details and to sign up.
The Sam Leman EverBloom Classic at Evergreen Lake and Lake Bloomington is this weekend – Saturday will be at Evergreen and Sunday at Lake Bloomington.
The 32nd McLean County Pheasants Forever Banquet starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Interstate Center. For information contact Bruce Thomas at 309-830-5281.