Get out and relax

Chaotic 2016 finally coming to an end

A chaotic year is coming to a close. Spring flooding swamped North and Central Louisiana, and Toledo Bend reached historic levels. Then the Great Louisiana Flood in August destroyed homes and businesses down south.

The presidential campaign usually bordered on sheer lunacy. Whether you are a wild-eyed Trumpite, a bleeding-heart liberal or a Soviet-era socialist, there was something for everyone. But not much of which anyone could be proud.

And at this writing, Americans — at least those who weren’t protesting, throwing bricks through windows or running to safe places to suck their thumbs — were holding their collective breath, waiting to see what President-elect Donald J. Trump will do.

Fortunately, we sportsmen have a release from all that tension. There’s just something about stepping onto a boat or sneaking into the woods that makes all those worries dissipate.

I discover this every time I pry myself out of my office and get on the water. The stress of editing thousands of words and planning upcoming issues is forgotten as my boat glides through the Atchafalaya Basin or coastal marshes. When I return to the office, I’m a different, more relaxed man.

God’s great outdoors just puts things into perspective. It doesn’t matter what moron is president, the sun still rises with all its splendor. The bass still hunker around the bases of cypress trees. Toledo Bend still produces 10-pounders. Big bucks still roam the state’s forests.

All of that is easy to forget in the constant-contact world in which we live. As we are barraged with input from social media and talk radio, our lives become centered on the latest status updates and tweets. And our stress levels skyrocket.

But I live next to a couple whose home isn’t rigged with high-speed internet and who haven’t given their two youngest sons cell phones (the horror). Those boys don’t seem to have a care in the world. They roam my street with toy guns and walkie-talkies, tussling in the yard and playing chase. They ride their bikes, and hoop and holler. They get into the occasional fight — then they get up, shake off the dirt and continue playing.

Like my generation did when we were that age. And we were better off for it.

So take time to disconnect. Turn off your cell phone when you hit the woods or leave the boat launch. You’ll never regret missing the update on what your Facebook friends ate for lunch.

And, this month, don’t forget to celebrate the greatest news story in history: The birth of Jesus Christ our Savior.

That event proves God hasn’t abandoned us. He has a plan, and he’s still in control, even when life seems overwhelming.

If that doesn’t make you smile, then you have bigger problems than our next president.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.