Last Saturday (13th August) I attend a Sporting Clays shoot at the Lakes Area Conservation Club at Osterhout Road in Portage, MI. The event was a fund raiser for Ducks Unlimited (www.ducks.org), one of the world’s great examples of sportmen stewardship in wildlife and habitat conservation.
The morning started with a storm rolling north of of our home, a lot of thunder and some winds. My wife questioned if I was “really” going out in that weather, and my response was that it was perfect duck hunting weather. But the morning storm blew away and we had a nice, if somewhat warm, morning.
The event was very well organized and most teams were formed in advance, so showing up as a lest minute entrant I was very happy to find a spot at #2 Squad and shoot with my friends Eric Weeldreyer and Dick Kik.
Eric is one of the owners of On Target in Kalamazoo, MI (www.ontargetgunstore.com) and besides encyclopedical knowledge of firearms he is a great shooter and sportsman. Dick is one of On Target’s foremost sidekicks, another passionate shotgunner, side-by-side enthusiast and reloading thinkerer.
I have shot the Sporting Clays course at “Lakes Area” many times, so there were not many surprises with the “Clay Ducks” (since this was a Duck’s Unlimited event, I am not willing to call then “pigeons” this time), but towards the back on the woods on stations 11 and 12, there was a very pleasant and tasty surprise.
Just as we walked to station 11 and were waiting our turn to shoot, Eric asked me if I liked blackberries. I use so much a blackberry for work that it took me several seconds to realize that Eric was not talking about electronic devices or any boring work related matter, but that berry season is at the pick in Michigan, and we were surrounded by blackberry bushes. Eric began picking the ripe berries, bright black and sweet, and treating me by the handful.
In the book “As Valkyrias” Paulo Coelho discuss how most people live in a personal microcosmos, not more than than a couple meters in diameter, and that in order for a someone to live fully we must look at the horizon, shatter the boundaries of our self construct microcosmos and, in my case, see the blackberries just a couple paces away. Eric’s offering was a wakening call.
It is impressive how a simple kind gesture, like Eric’s blackberry offering, can make a day memorable. Clay ducks are not a delicacy, but the blackberries really complemented them in a great way. Even my shooting improved in those stations.