As the sun drew further away from our campsite the temperature began to drop. We were sheltered on a small island in the middle of the Tennessee River. We had spent that day scouring the back waters off the main channel for groups of Canvasback. The Canvasback is the largest diving duck in North America and a prized trophy. Known for their canvas like white back and crimson head feathers, they are difficult to hunt and also a culinary delight.
While we were in on the water and in the boats we hadn’t noticed the declining temperatures, but now huddled up in camp the clear sky above seemed to smirk as the day’s warmth escaped and the cold January night descended.
Camping was never something that I enjoyed. It wasn’t part of my upbringing. I love the outdoors and the water, but when it comes time for sleep I was and still am a fan of a bed away from the insects and the elements.
Something happens however, when ducks are involved. It’s almost like kryptonite. In fact, I have camped out on islands, in fields, and in the woods more times when chasing waterfowl than I have in any other circumstance combined. If you ask me if I want to go camping this weekend my answer would be a pretty quick “no”…. But if you ask me to camp out so we can chase birds in the morning my answer will be an immediate “yes”… without any consideration to the conditions or climate.
I sometimes try and rationalize this phenomenon in my head. There is honestly nothing in me that enjoy’s sleeping outside, but the minute that the pursuit of waterfowl is introduced into the equation most of my rational thinking vaporizes and I am consumed by the pursuit.
I believe that every man has something, some passion, some fire inside that will drive us to defy our own logic and push the envelope of our own comfort zone. I also believe that whatever that thing is for you is not coincidence or accident. The passion in your soul is connected to the skills and talents you have. You were wired for something amazing. God equipped you to chase something very specific.
My chase is not simply for the waterfowl, however, it’s about the men I get to spend time with around the fire. Fire is the game changer. Nothing can remain in its original condition after coming in contact with fire. Fire changes everything. Fire in the woods creates new life. Fire in the furnace hardens steel. Fire in the camp builds relationships.
I am willing to defy my own logic and risk my comfort when chasing waterfowl because I know it will always lead me to a campfire moment. This is where I really feel my soul come alive. Sitting around the fire talking about life, laughing, questioning, and listening to each other is what I was made for. We all were, in fact, made to walk along side others. I am most alive when I am pursuing something along side of like minded and equally as passionate people, and I am willing to bet you are no different.
When we get around people who chase what we chase we find a kind of camaraderie that is rare. Some of the best conversations I’ve had started because we only had one thing in common… ducks.
What is your thing? If you were sitting around a campfire right now, what would be the topic that unlocks your fire? Who would be the men you would would want sitting around the fire with you?
If the answers to the questions above aren’t clear then it may be time for some personal reflection to find that fire again and find ways to get around it. Maybe you need to take some intentional steps on reconnecting with some of the guys in your circle.
If I was the only one sitting around the fire the conversation would be pretty short, and pretty dull. Don’t be the only guy around your fire. Reach out and connect with your circle.
Sometimes the only way to make it through a chilly night camped on an island is to have a good fire and good friends by your side.
You are a man who matters… light the fire and get in the chase.