As a young adult, I remember fishing the riverbank at Mr. MacDonald’s farm. (Yes, Old McDonald had a farm. Lol) He was an older man whose property ran along the river. I don’t remember how we first discovered this place, but it seemed to not upset him when we set up camp at his place. Many of those days he would come by and check on us and tell us a few stories about days gone by. One of his tobacco barns stood only a few yards from where we fished, and it seemed no matter what time of year it was, he always had a few tobacco plants hanging inside. On occasion he would give us some leaves to take home and twist for a good homemade chew. His recipe was either to cut up a fresh apple and let it marinate the leaves for a few days, or to ease that twist of tobacco down into a jar of honey or molasses. This was my favorite. Alongside that same bank was his boat. It was one like I had never seen before, or since. I can only describe it as a flat bottom canoe, made of wood. It was long and not very wide or deep. And I can only remember a couple of places to sit down. Now I’m sure he had landed a few fish from this boat in times past, but now the boat was used for occasional transportation. When the weather was good and the river was calm, each Sunday, Mr. MacDonald would gather his long homemade oar, get in his homemade boat, and traverse the small river to the church he attended downstream. I’m sure he had other ways of getting there, but the boat was his preferred means. Now, as a younger fellow, I never asked him why he did that. I wished I had. As an older man, I can imagine the reasons. There’s no doubt the short journey prepared his mind for that morning’s gathering. The trip itself, for someone like you and me, and him, would be its own worship experience. I can imagine the sights he must have enjoyed as he prepared to meet with fellow believers. I can imagine how he must have been awestruck by the picture of God as painted by creation. I can imagine how the voices of each animal became God’s unique choir as they were sung in unison. The Biblical David must have taken that same trip, when he sung the words, “The heavens declare the glory of God!” It’s true. And even though that boat is perhaps rotted and ruined, the sights and sounds that declare the glory of God are still there for us, if we’ll put ourselves in the place to see and hear them.
Gary has written the Outdoor Truths article for 20 years. He has also written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations