Along The Trail 2-18-16


Editor’s Note: ‘Along the Trail’ is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.


I’ve never been a fan of being in large crowds. I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as a people person. I’m the dual product of genes that contain more than their fare share of pessimism and a job that breeds cynicism towards people.

Oh sure, I know a lot of folks from varied backgrounds, but I tend to keep my circle close. I have lots of acquaintances, but only a few friends. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism of sorts, to keep people at arms length.

I would guess that my loner personality tied with my job in a leadership position is one of the big reasons I’m so drawn to the outdoors. It’s my outlet, my chance to breathe after a long day at work dealing with, well, people.

Sadly, my day job doesn’t provide for much positive interaction with the public. It’s mainly fixing or attempting to fix problems and after 25 years of that, it tends to make a fellow a little salty at times and skeptical of people and their motives.

But outside, out in the woods, trekking across fields or hopping across a stream, all of that “people” stuff fades away. The fresh air, the bird songs, the glimpse of a deer, it’s a magic potion that takes me to another place and stirs my imagination. I’m instantly a young kid again. Toss a bow in my hand and a chance to hunt, and I turn into a different person entirely.

Now, the fact that I enjoy the solitude that deer hunting provides doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy camaraderie and fellowship.

In my book, there’s not a time much more enjoyable than chatting about the hunt, the chase, the thrill of it all. If there’s a bonfire and good food involved , it’s even better!

I’ve always felt a little melancholy at the end of archery season. The obvious reason is because my hunt is over for the year, but the underlying reason I think is because my hunting pals and I lose touch for a while. We get drawn back into the real world of responsibility and our conversations follow suit and become dull and routine once again.

In the meantime, I do what I can to keep the spark going.

I hike, attend 3-D archery shoots, hunt for shed antlers, attend a sports show or two, but nothing takes the place of the autumn woods and the soul cleansing power of sitting high in a tree, leaves falling all around and hearing the unmistakable snap of a twig under a deer’s weight behind you.

I’ve said it many times before, but if you don’t have an outlet, find one.

Chances are, yours isn’t hunting – and that’s fine.

Maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s exercising, going for a bike ride or a walk. Maybe golf or volunteering or fishing, but find one. The real world and the digital one with social media has a way of wearing on us all. It grinds us down, picks at us, irritates us.

There is so much more out there than just our jobs and the constant negativity that the media bombards us with. Find your outlet and go for it. We were all created to do so much more than work, worry about things we have no control over and die.

-David Hewitt