Spring season helps reflect on what’s important

Spring has finally sprung. For a while I wondered when the weather would improve and give us physical proof of our much awaited season. But for now walleyes are running, crappies are spawning, the gate is about ready to swing open for turkey season and there are already reports of a few morels being found in our southern counties.

Just last week I enjoyed a beautiful evening plying the waters of an area lake. The weather was beautiful in between rain storms and the striking sunset was the icing on the end of the day cake.

After returning home finally feeling fulfilled I sat down to a warm meal. My plate was loaded with fish, fried potatoes and a hearty salad. Then I made a huge mistake. Before I began assaulting the food, I turned on the evening news. Talk about killing my vibe.

There were reports about a young girl being abducted, another shooting in a popular nightclub and the discord and infighting among our nation’s top level politicians. The same people who should be setting a good example while looking out for the best interests of their constituents.

Anger began rising to a fevered pitch when every story about an innocent person being hurt crossed the airwaves. I could feel my pulse quicken and a knot form in my still empty stomach. I prayed these perpetrators would meet a sportsman’s brand of justice. The news was a vampire and the blood was my soul. I tried to endure until the weather and sports took over, but I couldn’t. Doing the smart thing, I changed the channel.

My mood quickly improved, going from anger and resentment to a pleasing place of fish scented hands, warm waters and cool breezes.

It seems we cannot escape the constant negativity in today’s world. We are bombarded in nearly every news outlet and social media. There is no better time to tune it out and focus on the things we love and make us happy.

I learned a long time ago I am not a brilliant mind or intellectually gifted, just an average guy with ordinary thoughts and a love for everything outdoors. I am also smart enough to know that my words or personal thoughts will have little, if any, impact on anyone. We all know of those who try to push their beliefs on others and if we don’t agree they become angry.

These folks need to realize the more they push the more they drive us away. So many friendships are lost over the most trivial matters.

Sometimes I believe we live in a jacked up, self-serving world until stopping to think there are a lot more good people on earth than bad. That was witnessed several times earlier that same day. It began when a complete stranger held the door open for me at the quick mart after gassing up the boat. It happened a short time later when a young man asked if I needed help launching my boat. Then before leaving two guys offered me the handful of crappies they’d caught plus their leftover bait.

It’s unfortunate that news channels don’t portray the real lives of decent, everyday people more often. Sure you may see a quick clip about some child raising money for a worthwhile cause, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Just how many times has the evening news put a smile on your face and offer televised proof the world is getting better with each passing day.

There is scant coverage about the day-to-day lives of normal folks who work hard trying to provide a decent life for their friends and families. Missing are reports of the polite smiles we receive from passing strangers regardless of their skin color, political views or religious beliefs. Almost gone are segments about those who try to help the less fortunate or paying for a stranger’s lunch.

I think those with outdoor interests realize this most because our passion gives us much needed time alone, something increasingly rare in today’s age in the ultimate world of being “connected.” To me, enjoying nature’s solitude is not an escape from life but a deeper immersion into it. We can shut our phones off when we get in the boat or wade an area stream and be absolutely content with our surroundings and ourselves.

We don’t fish simply to fill the live well or add weight to the stringer. While we ply waters with rod and reel, hunt turkeys or search for morels, it gives us a short window when we can feel as if everything is alright and the world is a perfect place to live. So for now, at least during our spring season, focus on the things that are really important and make you happy – just don’t do it while watching the evening news.

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John Martino
Martino is a well-known outdoor writer throughout Indiana and has served as longtime outdoor columnist for the Kokomo Tribune newspaper. Martino has won numerous awards for both his writing and his service to youth, conservation and the community. He recently retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kokomo and now works as Ivy Tech Executive Director for Facilities for the Kokomo region.

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