I walked out of the four days of hunting on Jeremy’s farm, just a little different than how I went in. No deer. No war stories. No real deep conversations. But a lot of grilling, football talking, and having Waylon Jennings, and Hank Williams on my mind. There was something in the simplicity in it. Waking up. Putting on our gear. Walking to a deer stand. Coming back for lunch, and stories, and going back out to do it all over again.
I somehow was a bit more country, than when I went in. I left a little different, than how I came. My accent had turned up a few more notches, with a little more “y’alls,” in it as well.
I travelled down the road a bit, fresh off our hunt. I needed a taste of civilization again, so I walked right into the Franklin Starbucks, still smelling like the odor of the woods, and doe. I sat down to write in my journal, and take a few notes of the experience. I sat down in this little tight chair, and at this tiny little table. And looked at all the conversations over the tiny little tables. It all felt different. The decorations, the music, the people in the place. I felt like a stranger.
I started listening to a guy talking to two girls. It was more like I was listening to three girls talk.
I stopped writing, and was staring at this dude. I started getting mad at him. He seemed to be so at home, engaged in this conversation, feeling so free, and chatty. It hit me that something had happened out there, in the woods. Because, I was only mad at him, because I was really that guy. Starbucks used to be my woods.
I starred at this guy, I just wanted to hand him a rifle. Have the girls scream. While I chambered a few rounds in like a crazed terrorist. Slam it down on the little table, spilling the coffee, and ending the conversation. I wanted to take him with me. Have Graham, and Jeremy show him a few things in the woods. Put him in a deer stand somewhere on the land in the dark, by himself, no talking, no girls. Tell him to shoot a deer. And tell him when he did, he could come back to the trailer we were sitting at to give him a hear to Hank Williams Sr.
It hit me, that something was happening in me. I was either going crazy, or well, I was going really crazy.
But as I sat there stewing over this. Then I started thinking about my other friends I had just been with, and all the hunters I had met along the way, and some of the rougher guys in the midst. You didn’t really seem them in this type of place. Sitting over little tables talking or drinking tea. I wasn’t even sure you were allowed to walk in with camo to Starbucks. I imagined their man card getting revoked. But maybe just as badly as this guy sitting at this table needed to grab a rifle, and head out into the woods, those guys needed to give theirs up, and trade it in for a tea set, and a few lessons on manners, and style. Maybe those guys needed to know how to sit down at a really small table, and trade stories, and share their heart. Really talk. Maybe even with a few girls.
There came this great epiphany. Maybe hunting wasn’t the answer. Maybe it was just in part. A place to get some parts I did not as a boy. Maybe it was for me. And maybe it wasn’t different for other guys. It seemed that repentance lead me to swing to this direction. Most of my generation has grown up in the city, or around little tables, and teas, so it made sense that most of us needed to find Charlton Heston and enroll in the NRA. Pick up a gun, and kill a doe. But for some, it might mean heading in the other way, discovering the other side of it.
I wondered if what really needed to happen is for everyone to trade places. The white collar with the blue. The hunters with the metro guys sensitive artsy guys. Maybe each had something the other needed. Maybe one man, and one way wasn’t really the answer to all this finding myself as a man stuff. It is just the direction I needed to swing to get a fuller scope of it.
Maybe it was a little of both. Somewhere inbetween the two. The places that I grew up with, and how my dad taught me in business, and these men out in the woods.
Maybe one man needed to strap on a pair, and sweat, while another dude needed to learn how to sip on a chai tea latte, and talk about his life. Like there were many flavors of masculinity as a friend Aaron said.
It hit me that maybe repentance looked a little different for every man. He got some things quite natural from his father. Maybe he went on hunting a bunch. But never felt his father’s love. Or maybe he grew up in a business world, but never spent a day on his car, looking under the hood. It seemed the problem was we kept hanging out in our little groups. Emo guys walked around with other emo guys. And burly tough dudes hung out with even more burlier tough dudes. Each dismissed, and laughed at the other. But maybe, deep inside, if they were honest, one guy needed a little table with a tea, and his legs crossed. And another guy needed to head down to Gun warehouse, and pick out a weapon.