By Gary Miller
I’ve learned over the years to keep a watchful eye when I travel to a tree stand in an unfamiliar place. I especially do this when I’m hunting in another state. I’ve been lost a few times. When I’m walking in, I always try to turn around and look back to see what the view looks like going in the opposite direction. I mark certain topographical differences such as a fallen tree or one that has a certain shape or characteristic. I also take with me some marking ribbon just in case I have to wander through the woods in search for an animal I may have shot. I will mark my path back to my tree stand.
Again, I’ve just hunted long enough to understand no matter how experienced I may think I am, I can and will get turned around in a strange place. One of the simplest inventions that came along a few years ago was reflective tacks. They are pushed into a tree and when passed over with a flashlight, will make a path look like an airport runway. I’ve hunted in some places where these tacks were put on both sides of the path every few feet all the way to the foot of the tree where I was to hunt. Because someone marked my path there was no way I was getting lost.
When I think about the most important things in my life, I am equally thankful some folks marked a clear path to keep me from getting lost. And even though I chose to stray from that path many times it was not because the path was not marked sufficiently. Wisdom is knowing when to blaze your own trail and when to understand the trail others have blazed is the only way to go. It is also making sure you have marked the correct trail for those who will come after you. There are some areas in life those who follow us must find for themselves; things like their purpose or what their passions are. There is no shortcut for these pursuits. In other areas we can save them a lot of heartaches if we will clearly mark the path and warn them concerning leaving its narrow way. Even though I had some great guides in my life I also know if others had also accepted their responsibility for pointing me the right way, I could have learned a lot of important lessons earlier than I did. Don’t ever be afraid to mark the path when you are sure where it leads. It will help an untold number of individuals.
I’d love to speak at your next outdoor event.
Gary Miller can be reached via email at email@example.com.