In/Out of The Woods


Ok, I KNOW the Cubs might win tonight and so go to the World Series… and I’d dig that! I KNOW the presidential election is just around the corner and how important that is. I’ll be doing a 35th anniversary set for friends tomorrow, then off to a day trip fishing w. my father-in-law… and then to Phoenix, Arizona for a Celebrate Recovery set and two worship services at Calvary Chapel North. But most of you know I live a full life. So:

Several times per year I try to get out in the country with my father-in-law. He loves the woods as do I.

We spent 3 days camping a few weeks ago and it was one cool moment after the next for us both.

Checking out the Illinois and Michigan Canal (much overgrown but water in some places) we found a primitive campsite (walk or bike in) right next to a lake. Sweet.

Birds, squirrels, flocks of geese flying over, the stars overhead at night and about 100 yards across the overgrown canal and field train tracks -we both enjoyed hearing trains through the night from our tents.

His old, cool bike and a loaner from my bro-in-law made the half-mile trek to and from the campsite pretty painless. We only packed in what we needed.

I spent half a day hunting (tree-bacon in the bag) and he looking around as well as at the local town historical society including purchase of a book on the history of the canal. Very cool.

The last day we poked around another state park and yet another I&M Canal area closer to Chicago taking pics and enjoying the bit of “right in front of you” history still left to see.

On the way back to Chicago I mentioned several aspects of our days in the woods.

Heard a beautiful owl sounding out the last night, first a screech and then the whoooo-whoooo most of us have heard. Loud, clear, cool.

Thought about the huge catfish he caught,CurtCat the wildflowers we saw, the long and beautiful trails I took on my hunt,BelowMatthiessenTrail MatthBerriesthe simple joy of a couple fires I was able to cook some truly great tea over.CampfireTea I remembered several light rains that came through, the cool air that tells us autumn is upon us. Grateful for the major surprise of a near-double rainbow after one rain.RainbowAtIandM

Hey, even our tents stayed 98 percent dry through it all!

Yet as we walked and took pics along the Canal (water, ducks and old locks)BridgeRuinsQuackersIandMCanalLock closer to home, a couple younger guys looking very much like they were trying to score dope walked by. That used to be me.

I sometimes wear a head scarf and had a camo kerchief on… some dealers/gang-bangers use ’em. So they were checking me out. I really don’t know for certain of course, only God knows for sure what they were/weren’t up to but this came to mind:

When I was living in addiction simple pleasures like I just mentioned weren’t even on my radar. It was all about the next high, the next sexual encounter with a chick, the next musical “buzz”. Simple joys and basic accomplishments meant zip. Noticing, much less being thankful for them wasn’t part of my personal m.o..

I thank God (as a lyric I once wrote and sang goes) I’m not the man I used to be.

Hope you can get outdoors this fall. The joys of all God has done and does makes life truly life. The gifts He gives and/makes possible are the best.CanalLockFlowers

Being clean and sober and at least somewhat sane (!) is one of His finest gifts. Eyes to see and ears to hear what’s real as opposed to all the gravel we swallow in order to deal with an otherwise empty life.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn


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