Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Walking With My Father

Photo by Pam Williams
Autumn reminds me of walking with my father. Daddy loved to hike through the woods on Sunday afternoons. We would drive out to the rustic cabin that he and his five brothers used during hunting season, and we would enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. It was always an adventure.

Sometimes we would shoot mark, firing shots at tin cans set up on a fence post a good piece away. Daddy and his brothers often would “sight in” their guns as hunting season approached. Other times we scouted out Daddy’s “spot”, the place in the woods he would claim as his own during deer season. But my favorite part was tramping around on the paths that meandered through the woods.

Daddy tried to encourage us to be quiet so we could see wildlife, but it was like talking to the wind. The only critters we saw with any frequency were squirrels, high in the trees, barking in irritation at us for trespassing on their territory. Occasionally we would spot a deer or two, but they usually saw us at the same time and, in a matter of seconds, gracefully leaped far from us.

We were warned to watch for snakes, though we rarely saw any. Daddy got such a kick out of taking a long, slender stick and slyly flicking it at the back of someone’s leg or at their dangling fingers. The person would squeal in fear and jump like a kangaroo! I have to admit it was hilarious, at least when he did it to someone other than me.

We often heard, “Don’t get too far ahead of us! There’re bears, you know!” Though Daddy knew the woods, he was well aware that kids can wander off the path in search of the perfect stick and soon get all turned around. Besides, along with the harmless deer and squirrels, not-so-harmless bobcats, coyotes, and black bears actually did reside there.

I loved it when we found monkey vines—thick wild grape vines that wound themselves over tree limbs and were great for swinging. Daddy always tested the monkey vine first to be sure the tree branch was strong, and then showed us how to wrap our hands and feet around the peeling, rope-like stem. What fun to glide back and forth over the forest floor like Tarzan!

After trampling through the woods for a couple of hours we gradually worked our way back to the camp. We always stopped at the spring house for a cold drink from an old tin ladle that hung inside the dilapidated little building. The water was sparkling clean and icily refreshing.

Thinking about those moments with Daddy remind me a lot of the journey I am walking with my heavenly Father, who invites each one of us to meander life’s path alongside of Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Like Daddy, He encourages us to “Be still” (Psalm 46:10) and shows us the many wonders around us. (Daniel 4:3) Father God protects us from “hidden dangers” (Psalm 91:3) and warns of potential pitfalls. (Hebrews 12:25) He invites us to “stay close” (James 4:8) and calls us back when we “wander off”. (Isaiah 30:21) He is constantly with us (Hebrews 13:5) and His loving care for us never ceases, no matter what our age.

Will you join me in walking with our Heavenly Father? I guarantee, it’s the adventure of a lifetime!


©2014 Pamela D. Williams