Outdoor Truths

Gary Miller

Each morning I walked about three-fourths of a mile to get to my stand. I had cut limbs and bushes out of the way and yet there was one area where I had to navigate around several tree-laps and weeds. I could have gone another way, but this seemed to be the best direction if I was to leave the smallest footprint. The problem was not maneuvering the fallen trees; it was dodging those little cockleburs that attached themselves to my clothes. Every morning, while watching deer, I found myself picking off burr after burr without ever getting them all. One evening, after a hunt, I had the great idea of just putting the infested clothing in the wash and letting an agitator get rid of my agitation. It didn’t work. Those little things hung on like a kid at a water park. They say these were the inspiration behind Velcro. I can’t help but believe this to be true. When you think about the real reason for these clingers, it is pretty simple to understand. This is the way these nasty weeds spread to other areas. They produce a seed, the cocklebur, and when some animal comes by; the seed attaches itself to the fur and is carried away to another area. The burr is then picked off and left to germinate – if it has attached itself to the right source that is. Otherwise, as I later found out, the seed just remains on the source and ultimately dries up, dies, and then is easily brushed off. The moral of the story? Be careful, what or who, you attach yourself to.

As I look toward a new year, I want to be reminded of this lesson. I want to be attached to the things that will help me be the most fruitful. Not that it is all about me, but it’s about being all that God made me to be. It’s about reaching my full potential. It’s about getting the most out of my gifts and talents. And in order to do that, I must continually attach myself to the things God has placed there just for me. Sometimes that means I must say no to really good things in order for me to focus on what I have been called to do. But there is one thing I always need to remember – the goal or the accomplishment is not the end; it is the means to an end. The end is always the people that God puts in my life. My gifts, talents and resources are not meant for my enjoyment, but for my employment. I am to employ them in the lives of people. For without people, I would be like a cocklebur seed that’s only along for the ride.

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Gary Miller is an outdoor writer, author, and speaker. He has served as a Pro Staff member for several hunting companies including Dead End Game Calls, PSE Archery, Schiek Sports, and Alpen Optics. When he is not writing or speaking, you'll find him in a tree stand, a turkey blind, or on the river. He has written 4 books; Outdoor Truths, Hunting and Fishing for Answers Volumes I, II, and III and Devotions from a Hunting, Fishing, and Sports Father, to His Son. The Outdoor Truths series are each a compilation of the articles he has written over time. He has been married to Teresa for over 35 years and they have three children and five grandchildren.

Outdoor Truths is a weekly sportsmen's article that appears in newspapers, regional magazines, and online across the South, and Midwest, for over 16 years. It is a blend of observations and experiences that have come over time from being in God's great outdoors. Contact Gary to speak at your next wild game dinner.

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