It was quite an opportunity for me to go duck hunting last Monday, January 19. A friend, who is an avid hunter, took me to a great place 20 minutes east of Anahuac, TX. I don’t think I’ve been so close to nature for a long while. Going to the reservoir very early in the morning, so as to be there before the ducks started to fly, was an amazing experience. I had never entered a cold lake fully dressed with thermal clothing when it was still dark. The thick fog made walking challenging over sticky and slippery mud. The best way to describe the scene was eerie. However, there I was in the middle of this unfamiliar territory though enjoying every moment.
After we settled in our shooting spot, we quietly waited and waited; we could hardly see beyond 20 feet. But gradually the sun was coming out and the fog slowly started to vanish. Finally, when the fog evaporated, it was like a curtain being lifted up to see an impressive landscape of magnificent colors and diverse wild life. My friend said quietly: Now you can see all the activity. But we still waited and waited for the ducks to fly near to shoot at them. That’s when the experience got even better: the surroundings and the sounds of nature gently took me to prayer. Not much conversation with my friend, only occasionally he blew a whistle, imitating the ducks, hopefully to attract them toward us.
At the end of the morning, we didn’t shoot any ducks. He told me: Occasionally, this is part of the deal. Nonetheless, I had gone through a contemplative experience that lifted my soul. Away from my comfort zone, God keeps revealing new angles of His presence. As we went back to the cabin to feed our bodies, my soul was filled with gratitude; nonetheless, breakfast never tasted this good.
In the God of all Creation,
fr. Juan, O.P.