I resolve to make every minute in the outdoors special regardless of the task at hand. If travel involves choice, I vow to choose the less-traveled route so I may discover new things or rekindle those lost or forgotten.
I resolve to share more quality time with my family rather than substitute hours of secondary choices and agendas. In doing so, I hope to focus on blessings already enjoyed instead of wishing for more. I will equally enjoy the brief moments of solitude that focus on the thoughts and prayers of days yet to come.
I resolve to relax and enjoy my time among the outdoors without trying so hard to catch a fish, bag a buck or down a gobbler. I will give fowl flights more distance before the shot and retain an attitude of fair play without question.
I resolve to visit new waters and remain optimistic as to the outcome. I resolve to catch a fish that has eluded me in prior years, even if new techniques may seem foreign, and abandon past habit. When I do, I will relish in the fight, admire my catch and return it to the water for the enjoyment of others.
I resolve to be more patient with those of lesser aptitude while retaining a proper attitude. This I will apply as I remember lessons passed down from father and grandfather, such as:
I will share and refine the very same tracking techniques taught over dry leaves and among the slopes of steep river trails. I will focus on the fact that the first shot is not often the best or that the easiest is not always right. I will dutifully locate any result of a poorly placed game shot regardless of duration, that dogs and horses are fed first and my bedroll is placed last at shared campfires.
I resolve to keep my firearms clean, my fishing reels lubed and my waders dry. I will remember that no time is right to put away tangled lines or wet flys, and it is a true sin to ignore lost dogs.
I will manage to enjoy hunts planned by others that involve pen-raised birds and to relish clubhouse tales of long shots on fenced grounds just as they are told. I will not speak unfavorably about the exploits of others, even if the telling reaches a bit high. Nor will I indulge in the gratification that I knew otherwise, regardless of any personal gain that may have been realized. (It's not in the Code of what's fair and balanced, and is foremost among the lessons taught and passed down from father to son).
I will keep my tackle box sorted, my compass calibrated and my glasses securely corded around my neck. I will make sure the plug is in, the bow line is attached and the ramp is long. My fishing tales will be short and believable, without the thought of bettering others not among my peers -- at least I will make an effort to do so anyway.
I resolve to make it a point to remember: that old friends should be cherished and new ones embraced; that poor shots are lessons for future choices; that a released fish may be a future trophy; and that casual conversation among strangers is not rehearsed.
On the more important resolution, I resolve to keep in mind that it is the duty of all who enjoy the outdoors to remain diligent in the realization that nature and history has a lesson to be learned. It is the order of the passing and how well we listen that proves our worth and continuance. We must respect the present in order to preserve the future.
Happy New Year!