We like to go on long walks at Whetstone Boys Ranch.  Long walks are good for the soul.  In addition to pondering the meaning of life and the mysteries of nature, we enjoy looking for signs of deer.  More specifically, we like looking for signs of “the big buck.”

He’s out there…teasing us.

We sometimes see this buck in the morning, during our devotional time, through the large glass windows that enclose the living room area.  Through the binoculars, it almost looks like he’s sticking out his tongue at us.  On the few mornings that Brandon has waited for him in the tree stand, this buck has artfully avoided the trap.

So on the last walk, our first young man was intent on finding another place to set up “Mr. Maxwell’s” stand.  I was amazed at his ability to effortlessly identify the small signs that had slipped my attention:  bark rubbed off a tree, hoof scrapes in the dirt, tiny little droppings no bigger than a rabbit’s, and to my astonishment, a wispy tuft of hair caught on the barbed wire fence.

I’m still a bit of a city boy, so the hunter’s sixth sense for such things is still beyond my powers of observation.  But I’m working on it, and I’m sure that in time, I’ll be able to track a deer in the dark…by mere scent.

What I’m getting at here is that second nature is exactly that.  Second.  It doesn’t come natural.  It’s learned.  Many things that a healthy person takes for granted are actually behaviors learned from parents, mentors and siblings who have guided us along the right path.  Not all boys have these role models.  And even if given the opportunity, not all boys pay attention long enough to learn from them.

I’m picking up a lot about hunting and tracking at Whetstone Boys Ranch.  Our boys will pick up more important things.  Trophy deer are nice, but treasures in heaven are better.

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