The Rhythm of the Wild

The Rhythm of the Wild

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. — Ecclesiastes 3:1

God created life to have a rhythm. I'm reminded of this every summer when I reminisce about life on our farm in Illinois. I remember quiet country nights in July, bass fishing in a cattle pond surrounded by corn fields basked in the golden light of evening. "Knee high by the fourth of July" is what my grandpa used to tell us grandkids, meaning that your corn needed to be that far along to make a yield. Life on a farm has rhythm. A slow, steady, predictable pattern that follows the changing seasons and repeats itself every year. I've always marveled at this simple, fundamental way of life. It grounds you. Reminds you of your place in the world. No matter how bad you want to, you can't press a button to expedite soybean growth. You can't micromanage rainfall. 

As I've worked to build a career, at times I've lost this sense of pace and perspective. Working solo, I've flat-out had to hustle. I've worked long and hard, and while I've seen and enjoyed the fruits of that labor, it's easy to fall into the trap of simply doing more and doing it faster. The cycle never ends, and it's ultimately a recipe for creating mediocre work. 

I think this is why wilderness is so attractive. Hunting has taught me that as soon as I hop the fence and enter the turkey woods, I no longer set the schedule. I'm on turkey time now, and he's got his own agenda that doesn't take my priorities into account. Wild animals don't have meetings and deadlines. Wild places don't run on an iPhone calendar. And the sooner you can accept that, the better hunter you'll be and the more alive you'll find yourself in the outdoors. The seasons will change, the elk will bugle, the turkeys will gobble and the salmon will run, all without us telling them when and how to do it.

So entering into the next half of the year, I'm committed to finding rhythm again in my life and work. To enjoy the steady, methodic act of putting a brush to canvas. To realize that going at an even pace is the best way to produce great art and a great life. I hope you'll join me.

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