We are counting down the days until my son gets to unleash his "inner buckaroo."
As we make our way to the motherland of rural Michigan, we arrive just in time for the opening of deer hunting season. My 8 year-old son is completely beside himself at the idea of the great outdoors, guns and wide open spaces. It may not be PC, but it's true. The cowboy gene cannot be denied.
Part of me is glad for it. I want him to know what it's like to walk through a frosty field. To understand the silent quiet of watching the world from the hidden perch of a deer blind. To be completely enveloped in nature without the worry of getting hit by a car, stolen by child molesters or having to be perfectly-mannered at a desk.
He will walk in the footsteps behind his grandfather and his uncles, just as I did as a young girl. I can see him now, wearing oversized hunter orange gear, ambling quietly behind, studying the field's movements. As a girl, my dad and I would perch quietly in our grown-up size fort, listening to our own steady breathing, watching the grey field become ablaze with the red sunrise. After what felt like hours, we would numbly come home for hot chocolate, while my dad would fry up some corn fritters to go along with homeade maple syrup.
The simplicity of taking a walk in nature and appreciating its delicate balance is a lesson you can only learn by doing. I want him to discover memories of a time and a place that is simple. A place that doesn't require a carpool, a suburb or a commute on a highway. To appreciate that hunting was how people used to sustain themselves -- like it or not, it was the way people survived.
As a mom, I'm about as pro-NRA as the rest of the mommy club. But I want my son to know what it's like to be a part of a place that knows how to take care of basic needs. In rural Michigan, people know how to survive both with the land and from the land. There is an underlying respect of nature that can't be appreciated going down the road at 65 miles per hour. It takes a slow quiet walk in the woods. It takes a watchful eye, an appreciation for the rhythm of nature and all creatures within.