There is something about the Christmas holidays that brings out the reflective side of me.
On one hand, I relish the fact that I will get to spend time with family, this year in particular with my son Logan who lives in California. On the other hand, I inexplicably feel a tinge of sadness. What is there to be sad about you ask? I guess it is for the many who have little or nothing.
I have never been a wealthy man by any stretch of the imagination, but I am rich in a whole different way. I had amazing parents that instilled in me a will to help those in need that is something I try to do each and every day.
It could be an act as simple as helping an elderly woman carry her groceries to her car or buying a cup of coffee for someone who doesn’t have enough change to buy it themselves. It’s all about awareness of your surroundings in the here and now.
Besides my parents, nature also taught me to be aware of every single moment. Whether I am out fishing or simply taking a walk, I find myself scanning my surroundings all the time. Many of the most memorable things I have witnessed in nature have happened in the blink of an eye. Two bald eagles wrapped in a ball falling from the sky, a blue marlin appearing out of nowhere to take a bait, a lightning bolt striking from the ground up — each of these events witnessed only because I was practiced in the art of seeing. There stands my wealth.
So that you know, these thoughts have been brought on by events over the past year: shootings in Orlando and France, California wildfires, plus it seems nearly daily I get news of people I know being diagnosed with crippling illnesses. I know some of these events are simply a fact of life considering where I am in my life cycle, but regardless, I thank my lucky stars for each and every day I have on this earth. Every moment is precious and every second a gift.
Before I sat down to write this column, I talked to wife Karen telling her I was not sure this would be the right subject matter for an outdoor writer. In response, she told me that if it is what your heart tells you to write, then do it.
In addition, she brought up how so many people wish for what others have. A perfect example happened to her recently when a woman came to her place of employment, Memory Matters. Dressed to the nines, adorned with priceless jewels and driving a very expensive car, she said it was easy to think, “I wish I had what she has.” That is until she learned that woman had just lost her husband of over 40 years. Be careful of what you wish for.
There is wealth to be had every second of every day. But the wealth I am talking about is right in front of you if you choose to see it. Maybe you are not a fisherman or an avid outdoorsman like myself, but the riches of this life are right there in front of you should you choose to see them.
Nature has shows going on 24-7, and if that isn’t your cup of tea, then random acts of kindness are there for the giving every moment of every day. The feeling you get from helping others is the greatest feeling there is. Given the choice between having all the wealth imaginable or truly making a positive difference in someone else’s life, I would take the latter every single time.
So with that off my chest, here are my Christmas plans. By the time you read this I will be in Los Angeles with my son Logan while Karen heads to see her folks in Houston. A marsh monkey like myself, Logan and I plan on hopping in his car and taking a spontaneous road trip with no agenda whatsoever. North, south, east or west are all on the table. Big Sur maybe or possibly Yosemite, heck maybe even as far away as Zion National Park.
Finally, I want to thank all of you that have called or emailed me over the past year encouraging me with your kind words about something I wrote that touched you in some way. You have no idea how these random acts of kindness have made me feel. Have a great holiday and remember that wealth is there for the taking if you simply choose to see it.