Late Fall in Southern WV
If you are anything like me, you long for fall. Fall is marked by many things that I love and consider beautiful- the changing of the leaves, the frosty morning sunrises, deer walking through the woods, and even spawning fish on tiny streams. As a hunter, fall is revered as one of the best times of the year, with the start of hunting season and the hope of killing the big buck you’ve been after for years. For these reasons and more, I think it’s safe to say that fall is my favorite season. However, I understand that’s not the case for so many others.
The leaves fall and frost turns to snow, leaving trees bare and a world of brown around us. For some, the cold temperatures that accompany this bring sorrow. Although I have never experienced this myself, I have many friends and family members who suffer from this. “This” is defined as Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that begins around this time of year. It is estimated that around 6% of the US population could be diagnosed with this, and that another 14% suffers from a mild form of the disorder (“Seasonal Affective Disorder”). Approximately four out of five of these are women. Though the exact cause is unknown, it does appear to have genetic factors and a correlation to lack of UV exposure.
As fall trickles into winter here in West Virginia, I have already begun to see the symptoms arise in many of my loved ones. As a hunter, I feel the call to disappear into the woods in search of the giant buck I have been after for the last couple of years. I have done this many times to an almost obsessive degree, with no results to show as of late. In doing this, however, I’m refusing a call that is undoubtedly much more important. As Christians, we are called to love one another more than ourselves, and to put the needs of others in front of our own. So, seeing my friends and family suffer while I run toward the temptation of an animal is the exact opposite of what Christ calls me to do, and I have been feeling guilty for it. Friends and fellow outdoorsmen, please join me as I try to put their needs in front of my own. Even though we love this time of year, others don’t. They need our support, and they need to see the joy that we have in Christ. Men, we represent 89% of hunters (“More Women Are Hunting, Say Survey Results”). As the majority in the woods, I want to encourage you to return home if you feel that someone needs your support. Given that women are more likely to be affected from this depression, we men need to step up and be there for them.
I don’t mean to sound cliché, but what I am about to say is certainly true. In just a few short months, spring will be here. The trees will show new life and bring back hope to many. Fawns will be born, birds will sing, and our world will be green again. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than seeing God breathe life into something that looks dead. If you or a loved one is suffering from any depression, I pray that you see this and allow Him to be your hope. A new life is coming that is open to everyone at any time, hang onto that.
2. “More Women Are Hunting, Say Survey Results”. Range365.Com, 2018, https://www.range365.com/more-women-are-hunting-say-survey-results. Accessed 6 Dec 2018.