Cherished memories of old and new times

June 5, 2018 GMT

For those of us who cherish the outdoor lifestyle, there are moments throughout the year that we simply look forward to. Those moments, often not planned, remind us of something prior in our world that invokes joy. Although we may know roughly the season or time of year, the actual day the moment occurs is a mystery.

It is that element of surprise rewarded with joy that makes us whole.

A moment for many of us occurs in the late fall/early winter every year when the first snow falls from the sky and the chill of winter stings your face. Instantly, a flood of remembered thoughts of sleigh riding down a hill when you were a kid or playing in the snow free from the confines of school might occur. Or perhaps looking up into the dotted snow-filled sky might trigger a memory of a wooded scene while hunting that simply makes you smile.


I can see clearly now in memory my brother and I walking in search of fall turkeys high in the West Virginia mountains of our youth, when an unannounced snow blanketed the woods causing the hunt to be nearly impossible. We stopped at a junction in the trail and laughed at the snow piling on our hat bills, shoulders and around our feet. I felt joy to be alive that exact moment in time.

Every spring, the first gobble of the year is magical to me. When he decides it’s time to shout to the world his excitement for daybreak, I simply have to be there. I have no good explanation as to why it stirs emotions and memories of joy in my soul. The audible call of the male wild turkey on a crisp spring morning, the smell of fresh earth coming alive after a long winter and the warm rays of sun just peeking over the mountain is a scene and moment in time that defines me as an outdoorsman.

The thought of so many spring mornings, friends, family, hunting camps, interesting people, books and articles I’ve read about the turkey, a simple-minded bird, all wrap up into one little neat package that opens when I hear that first gobble. The thrill of that moment never gets too worn out to be placed in the big memory book in my mind.

This past week, another unplanned moment in time in the out-of-doors caused a retrieval of information from the past. The day-long outing was nothing unusual for my family. It is very common for us to load up and head to the lake. The scene was normal, as normal as it gets for a family of four, as we piled into the boat and started its engine. As we left the marina, a thermal of warm air drifted across the lake as a head wind. I could feel the temperature difference on face warming my skin.


It was an old feeling, but the first time for this season. Between the sound of the water lapping against the hull and the gurgle of the propeller under the water’s surface, a slight giggle could be heard. It was in that precise moment in time my memories on the water were being blended into others’ memories of joy. A simple act of a boat on the water in a beautiful place was the cause.

Perhaps its my age or being an old soul, I do not know. I do know however, I cherish the memories old and new made in the wilds of the natural world. And for that, I give thanks.

Chris Ellis of Fayetteville, W.Va., an outdoorsman and a Marshall University graduate, is owner of Ellis Communications, a public relations agency serving the outdoor industry. Contact him at chris@elliscom.net.