Perhaps, there comes a time in every person’s life when the desire to go out and hunt something creeps into the subconscious of one’s mind – then again maybe not all people, as I begin to think about some of the individuals I know – either way, journeying into the woods and tracking wild game does appeal to many. I was bitten by the hunting bug a few months back when Pat Condon, head of the parish council at St. Dominic, introduced me to the excitement of Spring turkey hunting. I figured, “why not take a shot at this, it could turn out to be great fun.” If, St. Hubertus, the patron saint of hunters, found joy in embarking into the wilderness in search of the perfect hunt, then why not Fr. Sean?
This past week, I joined Pat Condon: Turkey Hunting Professor, at his family’s cottage in Argyle, WI to spend a few days hunting the elusive Tom Turkey. I must say, without Pat’s help I would have been lost. He was patient, explanatory, and happy to guide me in the ways of turkey hunting. I honestly could not have asked for a better teacher and mentor in this endeavor. So, I’m sure you want to know if I was successful? I can happily report to you that I bagged my first Tom Turkey at 7:50am Thursday morning about half a mile away from the Condon Hunting Shack. It was a glorious moment in your associate pastor’s life! My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty, I can’t even describe the exhilaration I felt that morning. Returning to the cabin, Pat’s wife, Jane Condon, gave me a big hug and told me she had heard the shot and was wondering if I had been successful. Was it the “shot heard round the world”? For me…quite possibly!
I found something spiritually uplifting in my journey to the wilderness. Getting the turkey was amazing, but being present in nature, God’s gift to humanity, was outstanding. If you are looking to discover a hidden spirituality in your life, take a walk amongst the woods and discover the stillness of God present there. St. Bernard of Clairvaux once wrote: “You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters”.
I owe a special thank you to Pat and Jane Condon for hosting me in Argyle and I send out a warm greeting to Pat’s parent’s, John and Dody Condon, for their wonderful hospitality as well. I am looking forward to my next hunting experience….Fall Turkey Hunting anyone?