Special thank you to Sohpie Erlich for this beautiful song in the video.
It’s a cold November morning and gun season is about to begin and soon I will have to hang up my bow. I know this feeling all too well. I climb up the tree and begin to unstrap my stand, which needs to be relocated. I freeze at the top foot pegs and enter a zone and deep thoughts come to me. I decide to climb into my stand and sit down to reflect.
“Elvis has been eluding me,” I think to myself. I had him patterned, but my strategy has stopped producing peeks at his unmistakable and unforgettable antlers. He truly is magnificent. He truly is the King! It has been an incredible season chasing him. I have learned so much about this one-of-a-kind King of the Woods. I have become obsessed with this animal, in love with him I suppose, but he is the King after all. Each of the three times I spotted him I shook harder, with the endorphin rush growing, and somehow Elvis was able to pull me into his state of mind, into his being. It is as if he is controlling me in a way. I know it sounds crazy, but this deer and I communicate somewhere, connected in our sixth senses. Somewhere in this vulnerable state with this animal there is a deep love, a passionate chase, a feeling of great happiness.
Looking up into the sky, I smile as I think about the time I spent last spring looking for his antler sheds with my lifelong hunting companion Jay Livingston. Finding a shed antler from Elvis is akin to finding Easter candy–except amplified into infinity. It is so perfect to smell the springtime dampness on the ground, with the wildlife singing again as all has been undisturbed for a while and the vanishing winter has animals up and moving. Warmer days are ahead and I love my time with Jay searching for the King’s late winter shed drops, it feels like its own opening day in a sense. I’m cracking up as I remember Jay finding an Elvis shed and how together we belted out the melody of “The Final Countdown” (the Detroit Pistons’ championship song!), such love baby. “Donnnananadonadadada” over and over, dancing in the woods laughing and celebrating you Elvis, you incredible buck. Man, I have loved having you in my life, Elvis.
Snapping out of my “tree stand dream,” I unhook, slide off, and detach the stand, ease it down to the ground and head off to move it in an attempt to get another look at Elvis and maybe, just maybe get a shot…
Nine years later, sitting in my office today I have a couple of cool ideas about what I might blog about this week and then in a stream of consciousness I start writing about LOVE and how big of a factor LOVE is for me in life. I simply thought about a time in nature when my LOVE was on fire and the words started flowing. Come to think of it, I guess that I always make it a point to have an “Elvis” in my life. It might be a business deal, it might be a monster buck, it might be a Greenfield Village visit with my kids, but I like life with Elvis in it, yes I am a believer that Elvis is alive and well.
I still feel the butterflies from Elvis as I write, it is as if I am there in the moment, yet these memories are nearly a decade old. I now realize that this sixth sense connection was actually me out of body or in a state of consciousness for the first time and it overwhelmed me, today this feels more normal. Living with this state of consciousness above it all is where I am trying to live all of the time today, and sometimes it really works. In this state, I am operating out of love not out of fear. That said I suppose it is largely about the life pursuit for our own personal Elvis that helps fuel passion, dedication, and an approach that is full of love. Eventually you will reach a place of out of body consciousness, but love is clearly a catalyst to this state of being. Love is a choice, and it’s a damn good one–a lot more fulfilling than fear and it fuels everything!
My advice to you is to consider pursuing an Elvis in your life, something you fully immerse yourself into where passion and LOVE are “KING”. A key to fulfillment in life is NOT simply having goals and accomplishing them. If all we ever do in life is check boxes, then what the hell did we really accomplish? Was it even meaningful, was it even fun? Is there any LOVE in that? No, I believe you have to be in something, you have to be committed to it, you got to have to have the LOVE, baby. It is within this loving pursuit that we grow as human beings and at the soul level.