It’s that time again in Michigan when hunters and fishermen start dreaming of getting out into the fields, woods, and on the water to enjoy the majesty and splendor of creation. The air is a bit nippy and the days a little shorter as we gaze on beautiful sunrises and sunsets from blinds, boats, and with friends. Some of the greatest times in my life have been with friends and family as we hunted and fished.
I am blessed with a group that goes to Drummond Island every fall to fish for perch and walleye. We stay at a wonderful fishing resort where the hosts are the best. We prepare our meals, share a few drinks, do all the lodge chores, and spend long hours sharing with each other our stories and tackle, eating cookies our wives made, and some of our favorite moments.
One of the things I like about our week-long trip is that we pray before we eat. Most of us are catholic and so we pray, “bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” Last year we missed two people that I treasure, always. One of them is my son, Charlie, who is joining us this year. Last year he couldn’t be with us because he took a new job in Texas. The other is my good friend Jim, who passed away in May of 2019.
Jim and I taught together at Farwell Schools for a lot of years. I have a farm and he lived on a lake. We used to joke, “what is better than having a farm of your own to hunt on? Having a friend who has a farm you can hunt on. What is better than having a lake of your own to fish on? Having a friend who has a lake you can fish on!”
Fall is also the time of year when the harvest comes in. Fields and gardens are harvested, and we prepare for winter by “putting up food.” We also try to get enough venison and fish to get us through until the next fall, or the next hunt. But fall is also the time when we reflect on the past year, remembering the wonderful and some not-so-wonderful experience we’ve had.
At this time of year, I often become overwhelmed by the many blessings we all have received from our creator God, his savior Son, and the Holy Spirit who enables us to continue living wonderful lives. Even the bad times in my life have turned out to be blessings. I hope that in the fall of my life, I will have only one response to my life, “thank you, Jesus.”
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”