Hunting for connection in communication forest

Mar. 18, 2014 @ 06:29 PM

I remember the wheezing and the chopping cough from my father when he talked about anything.

Mostly, I remember his voice and the flavor of his dialect and how he talked about the one that got away or a particular fish or an experience.

Then, it was known as talking. Now, it is known as a form of communication. Eventually, it might become something of the past, that being the art and manner in which humans talk or communicate or speak with fellow humans.

It would be novice to form a sentence with the implication that there have been many changes in the outdoors in whatever number of years. One could say, or communicate, “The outdoors has changed due to ...” and insert any subject to complete this sentence.

Yet I would most likely stand alone and say that the outdoors really has not changed. Instead, we as hunters and anglers have changed in the way we communicate or observe or comment on the outdoors. By all scientific accounts and amateur observations, wild game and fish feed when they are hungry, move when they want and are involuntarily involved in the same cycle of life today as they have been forever.

What has changed is how we communicate what we see, do, catch, chase, observe or experience in the outdoors.

In our modern and mostly inconvenient world, we have the luxury to loathe forms of communication that are equally designed to simplify our life and complicate it all at once. There are phrases such as social media and Facebook and text, and humans are now allowed to tweet on a Twitter, which I have still yet to observe, and some of us still use email and watch videos from a VCR and a small colony of people know that a stamp is needed to mail a letter.

Apparently, if we are not connected, we are not connected, and if we are not connected we are not communicating and if we place a pen to paper and write about what we see or feel, we are known as a relic.

I bring up the remembrance of my father’s voice because it is engrained in a cognitive vault somewhere in my head, the way he described a largemouth bass or king mackerel. A few days ago, I overheard my two sons talking to each other about catching fish. They were by the pond and there were two bass in a five-gallon bucket of muddy pond water, and they were electric in their descriptions and happiness toward each other and then they shared with me in voice how they found their own bait and set the hook and hence two fish in a five-gallon bucket, and all is balanced in the world.

As would have been acceptable, I could have captured a picture and sent the image to a satellite somewhere above and it would have been received by someone here locally. I could have texted a group of people or one person in particular. And, if I could ever locate a Twitter, perhaps I would have known how to tweet.

Instead, I compromised and took to a keyboard and 700 words and emailed a column about communicating and how it is so important for us not to forget about the art and emotion of actually talking to each other face to face, even if the other person wheezes.

The column appears in a newspaper and is my way of sharing, or communicating, to those that still appreciate black ink on fingertips and the formality of reading something tangible. As our world attempts to help us communicate better, let us not forget the simple art of talking, listening and using our eyes and face and one day, perhaps, you will recall the voice that wheezed when he spoke.

Enjoy your time outdoors.

Reach outdoors columnist Jason Hawkins at