When the trials and troubles of the daily grind get to be too much, occasionally I just go for a drive. Usually that drive will take me to a background that winds along the trail of my youth. We all have different ways of releasing the steam from the pressure cooker, but this seems to work best for me.
When deadlines race toward us, there’s more month than money left after the bills, and baby still needs a new pair of shoes, you just must call timeout and regroup.
I have had several memorable experiences that have reminded me of what’s important down through the years. One of the most memorable was one October afternoon I informed the boss I would return when I returned — I don’t recommend that approach by the way — and I went to the forest. I took my shotgun because after all, it was squirrel season and it was easier to explain that I was hunting rather than to saying I was letting off steam (I don’t know why, it just seems that way).
I sat very quietly beneath an old hickory tree. So quietly, in fact, I drifted off to sleep. While I slept, I dreamed of very small animals of the wild becoming tame, and not being afraid to engage with me. They played around me for what seemed like hours. It was a wonderful dream. Soon I awakened to three or four squirrels playing at my feet. These were the very squirrels I claimed to be hunting.
I no longer had the heart to shoot my little friends who showed no sign of being frightened by my presence, and so I continued to sit and watch them play until the late fall sun began to set. Amazingly, the tension was gone, as God had sent his little helpers to calm the raging storm inside me.
I can recall numerous occasions while taking long walks to clear out the cobwebs that I might catch a slight aroma of someone burning hickory in a fireplace, a wood stove or perhaps a nearby campfire. Instantly my thoughts might race back to childhood days cutting firewood with Dad on the farm, or great times searching for the perfect Christmas tree with my sister and brother (which we never found. I am convinced that’s what happened to the Great Sahara Forest). Before you know it, all pressure has been released.
One day while trying to explain the phenomena to my wife while we were out for a drive I found myself, without thinking about it, driving my usual “pressure release” route. I thought she would think I was out of my mind, but she understood completely (she is much smarter than I am).
Each time I think about such things I can’t help but hurt for those who claim not to believe in God. Our senses are so keen that there is no way the human body could have been engineered by accident.
I spoke with a blind man one time that told me he never actually saw the beautiful things in life until he lost his sight. All his remaining senses became so strong that he saw clearly the things I never saw before.
I am reminded by my brother John that the big things that trouble us are only temporary. Many have taken drastic steps and provided a permanent fix to a temporary problem.
As the holidays approach, I am going to try and take my own advice and smile, close my eyes and attempt to really see the beauty that’s all around me. I am going to try to feel the love of family, allow them to know how much I love them, take in the wonderful aromas of nature and the kitchen (hint, hint Patty), listen for the music, and let the pressures of the world take care of themselves.
Until next time, I have a date with some squirrels out in the forest.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at http://www.HerbDayVoices.com and http://www.HerbDayRadio.com.