The wind swirled through the marshy hardwood bottom in the darkness. I was still settling into position against a wide oak tree, hoping the moisture from the ground wouldn’t soak through my seat cushion. As I leaned back I turned my head upward and gazed through the tree tops into the dark sky. It was almost show time.
I quietly reached into my bag and found my gloves and face-mask. It was time to suit up. Time to go completely covert. Time to become part of the oak tree I was leaning up against. Soon the light would begin creeping into the trees and the woods would come alive and by then it would be too late. The best way to blend into the woods is to become part of them before the light can reveal you.
When hunting the Eastern Wild Turkey, few things are more important than camouflage. Your ability to disguise yourself as part of the terrain may be the most pivotal factor in whether or not you succeed. A wild turkey sees in color just like a human, but with almost three times as much clarity and focus. Their eye positioning gives them nearly 270 degrees of viewing perspective. If you are in the woods and don’t look like the woods they will see you… long before you see them.
Camouflage is a hotly debated topic among outdoorsmen. Each year new patterns and advances in technology promise to conceal the hunter better than ever before. Camo makers are on a never ending quest to develop the one, single, magical pattern that will conceal in all climates or types of cover. Camouflage often sparks conversation and competition among fellow hunters about who’s is better, and camouflage has often been the scapegoat for many an errant shot or unsuccessful hunt.
That’s the deception of camouflage. Most of the time we have fooled ourselves into believing we are hidden better than we truly are. When it comes to hunting turkeys, the consequence of this deception can be disappointing, like in the case of spooking the bird, but it’s usually not deadly. Living life under this deception, however, can have much harsher consequences.
All of us are living our lives with tension. We live somewhere in the in-between. We are living between who we want to be and who we actually are. It’s a source of great pressure and stress. This tension shows itself all over the place. Maybe you aren’t as successful in business as you thought you’d be, but you can’t let the world know it, so you have to fake it. Maybe your kids didn’t turn out how you hoped, but you don’t want to let anyone know you’re ashamed, so you hide it. Maybe you’ve made a horrible mistake in your past and covered it with years of good deeds, still the thought haunts you, that if anyone ever finds out about your past you would be ruined, so you always cover up that part of your story. Whatever your story is, no matter your tension, at some point we all put on camouflage. We go on living our lives and putting on camo, trying to blend in so no one will ever see who we really are.
No matter the great lengths we go to to conceal ourselves, however, I’ve never been in the woods with a hunting buddy and seen them vanish. Even several hundred yards apart in thick woods the shape of a human frame just don’t seem to fit. I can always spot my partner even amongst the perfect cover. Why is that? Why is it that no matter how hard we try to cover up, to the people closest to us, we still stand out?
This is the truth about camouflage: you’re never really as hidden as you think you are. This is the deception. When you are living a life of secrets and hidden deception you may feel as though you’ve got everyone fooled, but the truth is, the people who are closest to you can often see right through it. They can spot you no matter how good your cover is.
Are you living a life in camouflage? Are you pretending to be someone you are not just so you can fit the image of success? Are you tired of always looking over your shoulder to see if anyone has caught on yet?
Consider these questions this week. Take a minute to write down where you are wearing camouflage in your life.
Next week I will tell you how you can defeat this deception and experience a new freedom in your life that you may have not felt for a long time. You are a man who matters, and no matter what you’re covering up, you can take a step towards living as one.