The Quiet Stillness, Or Adrenaline Rush… What Fuels Your Outdoor Passion?

Daryl Kirby | March 28, 2020

We lived on a neighborhood lake when I was a teen. Most every evening I slid a jonboat into the water and sculled around by myself, slinging a popping bug on a junky old fly rod, sidearm redneck style, as the sun sank below the treeline. It was cathartic, my mediation. Those evenings on the lake helped get me through some tough times.

The next chapter, trying to survive college, it was the same but different. An isolated little farm pond about 30 miles from Athens, twitching a Bang-O-Lure methodically along every inch of shoreline. Relaxing, peaceful… suddenly and shockingly shattered by a sound like a cinder block hitting the water from 20 feet high and the lure disappearing in a violent swirl and splash.

Hunting and fishing enjoy a stark contrast. On one extreme there’s a quiet stillness that’s rare, even more rare in today’s world of instant connection. On the other hand, there’s a thrill that is unique to hunting and fishing, often coming on suddenly and unexpected, which only intensifies the moment.

Which fuels your passion for the outdoors?

Is it the calming stillness, where everything slows—most importantly your racing mind—when some of the cares of the world slip away?

Or is it the thrill, the burst of adrenaline? The thrill of that sudden topwater explosion… the first glimpse of antler when you realize that’s no ordinary rack… that late-morning gobble just when you’ve resigned the hunt is all but over—a sudden gobble that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

Those types of adrenaline shots are unique to those of us who hunt and fish, and I think they’re addictive.

Those moments live forever in my memory bank, a personal video archive. I can close my eyes and see in vivid clarity a hunting scene that took place 30 years ago.

So which fuels your passion?

I went back and forth trying to pick one or the other. But I’m convinced it’s both. Without one, the other is less. Without the occasional thrill, the stillness might eventually bore to death even the passionate lover of the outdoors. But it’s the long stretches of quiet that makes those thrilling moments and events so special, so intense.

And a final thought about how quickly our world has spun into a state of crazy. Don’t worry, you’re not going to get medical advice or virus theories here. Goodness knows most of your social media contacts have become medical and political experts these days, you don’t need it from GON, too.

These are crazy days, but the woods are not closed. Even if you’re not a turkey hunter, try taking a long walk and an even longer sit with your back against a big tree.

The lakes, rivers and ponds aren’t closed. The fishing this month will be fantastic, from watching bobbers disappear to chasing the early morning shad spawn.

They can cancel concerts and festivals, basketball tournaments and corporate meetings, they can even shut down shopping malls. But they can’t shut down hunting and fishing.

Even without a pandemic, I’m more than happy to stay mostly isolated in my house in the middle of the woods.

Has there ever been a better time to be on a boat in the middle of a lake, or with your back against a big oak tree in the river swamp with all day to wait on that gobbler to come to you?

If you’re stuck at the house, after reading this month’s magazine, take a few minutes and explore what we’ve been doing at We have put up literally thousands of hunting and fishing articles, some dating back to the earliest years of GON more than 30 years ago. There’s some great information and some great trips down memory lane. More content is being added to each and every day.

Finally, like every small business right now, GON needs your support more than ever. If it’s time, please renew your subscription. Consider giving GON as a gift to a friend or family member who enjoys hunting and fishing.

GON folks know hunting and fishing, basic outdoors skills. I’m so thankful for that.

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