In early 2021 I decided to make a transformation to become something better than I was. In my observations of things, places and people, the one notion that I could change immediately was the concept of time. The more I observed time, the more I realized that society has been obsessed with it, almost to a fault. I started to notice that the people who were successful in life concerned themselves more with what they did in a day and not when their day started or came to an end. I remember when the movie Crocodile Dundee came out in the late 80’s. They asked Mr. Dundee when he was born and his reply in a nonchalant manner was “the summertime”. I resonated with that statement.
A few years back I had enough of wearing a watch. Every time I went to workout, went fishing or played softball I took it on and off. Wherever I worked I had a clock in the background to keep me on time with my patients. The more I stared at it, the slower the watch moved. I have a phone now and a laptop that constantly reminds me of the time. In my mind, the watch really didn’t serve a purpose anymore. That’s when I decided to no longer wear one.
Very nice but no thank you.
As an outdoorsman, I have realized that time is really nothing more than just an afterthought to mother nature. She does not care when winter ends and spring begins. She doesn't care if you live long enough to see a glacier retreat north or how a mountain is made. Even her creatures are desensitized to the element of time. Do deer come out to feed at an exact time every evening or do fish bite at an exact time every morning? Are young bear cubs always born at eight a.m.? Do porcupines eat every day at noon?
Enjoying your time in the woods starts with ignoring the when & focusing on the why.
My own enjoyment in the woods and on the water have only improved with the numbing of my senses in regards to time. I no longer leave a fishing hole at a certain hour. I let the fish tell me when to leave, not some self appointed engagement. It’s as if I am now a servant to my outdoor pursuits and not the round dial that used to adorn my wrist. When I hunt and fish with family and friends, I make it of the utmost importance that we never set a time to conclude our trip. For doing so, we are then controlled by time and not by our own will. You are then a slave to time.
I first realized the aforementioned idea when I was a young buck at our northern Wisconsin deer camp. We had a gentleman in camp by the name of Jerry. Jerry is a biker, cabinet maker and a hell of a deer hunter. When you asked Jerry what time he got out of his deer stand, his standard reply was always “When I’m damn good and ready”. This same statement also applied to when Jerry was going to leave deer camp or get to deer camp.
Nobody hunted longer or harder than Jerry. Jerry was not the guy who followed the idea that you had to be back at camp for chili at noon. You see, time and people did not dictate to Jerry on when Jerry was going to do anything. Jerry told time where to go and not vice versa. You have to respect a man for not following the crowd and Jerry was a great deer hunter because of it.
Since giving up my watch as well as turning my phone off I can now sit all day on a metal platform in the heart of a big public forest waiting patiently for the brute of a buck much like Jerry.
It is no longer a monotonous chore to get through the entire day of being on a deer stand from sun up to sun down in early November. My Brittany Spaniels now tell me when it’s time to go home after a long day in the field assuming I do not have our limit of birds.
A storm has a better chance of chasing me off a lake in my kayak than the local toll of church bells. The sense of time has become an afterthought.
Time is nothing more than humans trying to measure existence for their own gain, or at least that's what they believe. It is human nature to measure everything. They use time to measure the speed of a bow, a boat motor, a rifle cartridge, their truck’s ability to go from 0 to 60 and everything in between. They then use these measurables of time to argue these very things. As if a faster bow will harvest more deer than a slower bow or if a faster boat will catch more fish than a slower boat. Hence, time is in some ways an obstacle in one's pursuit of what is good in the outdoors. Time in a sense can make a man obsessed with the tools of his pursuits and not of his goals.
My Brittany Spaniel Lily does not give a single care about time but only where she is going.
I also despise the idea of wearing a watch as it does not fit well with what mother nature has intended. Nature, at least in my mind, has always been about balance. You have night and day, winter and summer, birth and death, freshwater and saltwater, etc. If you shoot a bow you need one hand on the string and another on the handle to create a harmonic balance. A kayak or canoe paddles equally on each side of their craft to propel their vessel in a straight line. The waves in an arrow of the archer's paradox are of equal movement from side to side until the arrow hits its mark. Mother nature is an epitome of balance and not about time.
A kayaker adheres to mother natures laws of balance & not vice versa.
However, the imbalance of a watch is only worn on one arm, as if your opposite arm is of lesser value. A watch serves very little purpose in the outdoors except to tell you when your time in the field, forest, lake or river has come to an end. The craftsmanship along with the price spent on a particular watch may be a symbol of one’s place in a societal class. However, two men lost in the wilderness at 50 below 0 will most likely die at the same time assuming that one is sporting a ten grand Rolex and the other man donning the $10 Timex. One could even make the argument that if the man with the $10 Timex would have spent half of that on a $5 compass he would still be alive and well.
Watches cost more but a compass can buy you more.....time. Purchase accordingly.
A watch serves little value to add positivity to the world. One could make the argument that a watch keeps you on time for an appointment. However, I have determined that being late for an appointment is nothing more than your subconscious telling you that you are not where you are supposed to be in life. People who show up on time or before an appointed time are there because they want to be. One does not need a watch to tell them where they want to be when they already know they want to be there. A hungry man is never late for dinner.
Make no mistake, do not underestimate the value of time. Time cannot be made or replaced like that of money or material objects. Time is considered to be the most valuable asset by most and one cannot disagree with that statement. Time is not to be thrown around like candy either. The person who feels that they have all the time in the world will only waste it. Be very aware of time but do not enslave yourself to it. However, a person who looks at their watch even once is not engaged in the joy of the moment but only when that activity will come to an end. Hence, to extend the beauty of your “time” in an outdoor endeavor, is simply to not wear a watch. Your state of mind will thank you.
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Clint Ward is a certified personal trainer with an associates in physical therapy. An avid outdoorsman who enjoys bowhunting, kayak fishing, ice fishing, working out and writing about the outdoors. You can follow him at oakandironoutdoors.com as well as Facebook & Instagram.