I sang those lines in a collegiate concert choir many years ago, but the lyrics come back to me … and even though I’ve visited European cathedrals and abbeys and been underground in catacombs, I find that the quietest places are outdoors. In fact, being outdoors makes it easier to be indoors; it makes it easier to undergo uncomfortable test procedures, sit through excruciating banquet speeches or even get your teeth cleaned.
When was the last time you stepped outside on your front stoop, deck or patio early in the morning, and it wasn’t on your way to catch an early-morning flight?
When was the last time you heard the wind through the treetops and nothing else, except some birds singing?
When was the last time you felt connected to what you walk on?
When was the last time you dusted off your bottom because you sat in the dirt or leaves?
When was the last time you cleaned dirt out from under your fingernails?
When was the last time you looked up into the sky and saw a bird fly, not just a contrail of a planeload of people going somewhere they probably don’t want to be …
When was the last time you caught a fish and let it go?
Year in Review
This past year for me has been filled with joy and quiet moments, but also good stuff in the hectic pace of everyday life.
Business has been very good – the business of writing for the NRA, the NWTF and the NSSF, along with columns in Show Me Missouri and at GunUp.com, has kept me going and doing my favorite part of that process – meeting like-minded people who work hard to keep our hunting, shooting and fishing traditions alive and growing. The WON has grown, according to Google Analytics, by more than 280 percent in the past year. Thousands of readers visit the site each month, and hopefully take away knowledge or at least, get entertained. As a former publisher of mine called it, this little “amusement” actually means something to someone other than me. Thank you.
The Women’s Outdoor Media Association, a 501 (c ) (7) that my friend Deb Ferns and I put together two years ago continues to flourish, adding members (males and females) who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and do the job of promoting what’s being done for and about women in the outdoors, particularly in the areas of shooting, hunting, promoting 2nd Amendment rights, fishing and archery. In fact, it would be hard to find as many worker bees, especially working female media members, in any other outdoor communicators’ organization.
And the pivot point for which everything else in my life orbits, our family continues to see growth and change: a set of twin baby girls in July, a new 2nd Lieutenant – the Baby Boy who carries on the Baird family tradition since the Revolutionary War of having a member who serves in the Armed Forces – and soon, a new son-in-law, Travis Thompson, who is Camo Mom’s son, and a finer young man we could not choose for our daughter to marry. And icing on the cake – another grandchild due in April to our son and his wife.
I want to find more quiet places, not only to visit in my mind, but also to take friends and family to … a place we can share, like a turkey blind with my daughter-in-law, a ridge top with my sons and their wives during whitetail season, a mountainside with my husband on a grouse hunt, and a trout stream with the lieutenant.
And in 2011?
I want to take my daughter hunting. I want to take the twins outdoors to their new wildlife watching blind that Grandpa is going to build for them and their new little cousin, whom we call Peanut. I want to spend more time with friends and family outside than ever before, and I want to remember to go there alone – even if it’s just for an early morning cup of coffee in the dark on my deck. You know, that quiet place.