Weekends usually don't mean much to me since my days off from work are split up and I rarely ever have a Saturday. Per request by a return brother in arms, I was granted leave from work so that I may visit with my friend, alleviating his weighted trip, hopefully offering him some solace and distraction with my company. Unable to operate as a duo, our third, Cody, joined us, completing our trio and enacting yet another excursion to the range.
Bryce had brought his new rifle with him, honoring us with christening it alonside him, tearing up 100 yards with brass and brash behaviour. I also brought some new gear to the table, a CZ612 shotgun, of which neither of them had had the pleasure of firing. Hitting the COMP area first, we blasted targets asunder with shotgun shells, 9mm rounds, and my .45. The finale ending with the rifle, each of us alternating, joking, and sweating under intense heat. We cared not, our comradery more important, events and meetings like these too far spread out in our lives. We weathered the heat, training together so that each of us was capable of handling each weapon. We parted ways after a hearty meal and beloved air conditioning, glad to have spent even just a few hours as a trio once more.
Later that evening, already battered by sweltering temperatures, I met up with a coworker, joining him on a journey to fish the Illinois River. Of course, the trip was not far but the hour was already late, meaning our campsite was nearly dark upon arrival, slightly cooled from the lake nearby but not enough to be called comfortable. We built a fire, set up our sleeping areas, ate well, wailed on a harmonica, and played cards late into the night. As the stars loomed ever closer, we each retired, prepared for a terrible nights sleep...and so it was.
Upon day break, we prepared coffee and a small meal, gathering everything up, erasing our campsite with ease, our hearts set on fishing in cold waters. Winding through hills and trees, crossing a dam that presented a dividing beauty, each side completely different from the other, we sought out our fishing site, remote to find with an extensive walk after to reach the water. I was enthralled by the sheer site of the running water, treelines shading each side enough to provide relief from the sun, water colder than the air conditioning we had cherished on the drive there. Lush green trees surrounding waters that ranged from clear to green, powerful blue skies overhead dotted with puffs of white, while the surface of the water itself teemed with dancing dragonflies. Gaggles of geese wandered to and fro, paying us no mind, each party here to enjoy the rest and relaxation. Yet, there was work to do, if you can call it that. Hours of fishing then ensued, of which I lost three lures to that damnable river, never catching a single fish, albeit close on two occasions. I cared not though at the end of the day, the sun sneaking burns upon my legs, arms, and neck while my body ached from the night before. Those cold waters rejuvenated me, revived my wild spirit, keeping me in the fight as I stood thigh deep in rushing currents. I hammered all of the sunken and still parts, crossed bank to bank, wandered up and down the forks, seeking an elusive prey. I may have left empty handed but what I take with me in mind, body, soul, and experience is beyond a reward.
Now, I wind down for the weekend, relishing my outings, grateful for the opportunities I was granted, regardless of the hardships or sacrifices. I have cleaned and polished my weapons and gear from both adventures, washed myself and tended to my afflictions, and now I give you, the reader, a reward. The Shooting Gallery has been updated with more pictures and videos. I have only the story to give you of my sojourn to the river, my phone and photos the least of my concern on such a trip. I hope you enjoy the content but I also hope that you too have such opportunities for adventure, for comradery, to deepen yourself with knowledge and experience. Take your chances, make the time, find a way, seek out that old soul that lives within you and ignite that ancient fire. Witness the world from its more natural states, simple, pure, and majestic.
THE MAD BARRON