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Why not slow down and enjoy the outdoors?

September 15, 2008
Bill Harding

We live today in what can only be described as a hectic world where everything seems to move in a fast, sometimes confusing pace.

For students there is the need for better and better education. Those adults who are still in the work force are constantly faced with job related decisions. Even retirees, like your columnist, come under a certain amount of stress. We all need to step back from time to time and find a moment of peace.

Everyone has their own method of relaxation, but mine always involves the outdoors. I can sit under a tree while hunting turkeys or deer and find myself meditating and at peace. Have you ever thought about how a tiny acorn can become an oak so tall it blanks the sun from the forest floor? I often explore these mysteries of life while I hunt.

Water has always been a relaxer for me. I remember a time in my teens when I lay on the bottom of a rented rowboat observing the water as I drifted slowly along. It was a shallow, clear lake and I could see spawning bluegills on the bottom. It was great.

Even a boat at the dock can be a wonderful place to find peace. Sometimes I like to just sit in the boat and let its gentle motion carry my thoughts to places far removed from the daily cares of life. I don't need a boom box held to my ear for music. I listen to the boat rubbing against her fenders. I can almost imagine her to be a living thing scratching an itch against the dock.

Fishing has been slow recently and the trouble might be that the lake is filled with minnows. Why should a gamefish chase a silly lure when all it has to do is open its mouth and a minnow swims in? It was obvious that we needed to try some different methods and Kenny Davis and I decide to fish from late evening into dark

We didn't catch a lot of fish, but our choice was good for me as it was a perfect time to be on the lake. We cruised slowly at trolling speed, and as dark approached we had the lake pretty much to ourselves.

My first moment of peace came as I swung the Barbie J to the west. The sun had disappeared behind the trees, but the lake had been turned to fire. What a sunset. The sky and the lake were both painted a brilliant red sprinkled here and there with a touch of orange. It was like sailing into a different world.

Dark fell when we were far down the lake and we made a couple more trolling circles before heading to the dock. Hope always clings to the heart of an angler. Just one more cast, you think. Just one more circle of the lake.

Barb and I have often sailed at night on Lake Erie, so I am not new to steering a boat in the dark. Even on this small lake, however, the serenity of floating across dark water touches me. With only the subdued instrument lights to cut through the dark, it is like sailing through space. It sometimes reminds me of the boat scene in Phantom of the Opera, but without the candles. Instead I have the intermittent light from a home or dock on the shore.

My music of the night is the soft hum of my outboard and an occasional splash of a fish or twang of a bullfrog. If this is not serenity, then I do not know the meaning of the word. I guess I'm like the water rat in Wind in the Willows as I just love messing about in boats.

Kid's Day

It's time again for the annual Kid's Day to be held at the Leetonia Sportsman's Association's club grounds. This will be the 33rd year for the event and last year 604 kids were registered to participate. The date, as always, will be on National Hunting and Fishing Day, which falls on Sept. 27 this year.

Kids from 6 though 15 years of age can participate in fishing, canoeing, archery, different forms of shooting, plus many other events. Trophies and door prizes will be awarded. The club will provide wieners and beverages and everything is free.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. and will continue throughout the day. For more information, contact Tom Butch at (330) 337-8444.



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