|Nothing but grace, gratitude, and blue skies these days|
Times when people enter your life that make a difference and bring you far more than you ever thought was possible. Times when Mother Nature offers up her bounties and beauty in heart stopping wonder. Times when you know that outdoors, the woods, the water , the forests and the fields are exactly where you belong and you are home .
|Even in fury there is comfort in nature|
There are also moments, days, weeks, and periods when life rains down sadness and hurt, fear and frustration. But like the blessed and bountiful times - returning to the woods and water, the forest and the fields to face the fury filled fates will remind you that outdoors, outside, is home and there will be comfort there.
It seems that I am the lucky one these days - my life is filled with beauty, bounty, and the best things keep happening. I feel like I am home. Finally.
Growing, ever learning, evolving into "The Wild Woman" over this last half century has been a long journey down many a broken and twisted road, but it's been journey worth every step and has finally led me to where I fit in, where I feel right, where I belong.
|Harvesting early fall oyster mushrooms to put up for winter|
I learned that Mother Nature could feed, clothe, and heal me. It brought me comfort in times of sorrow, it enhanced my joy and happiness during the good periods. It was my home.
But sadly, it was often a lonely journey becoming the a wild woman. The true outdoors women, women hunters, anglers, trappers, were few and far between. There wasn't the ever growing outdoor sisterhood 30 years ago that there is today. It was still very much an old boys club, a male dominated world where a woman who could out shoot, out hunt and out fish them was too often a rarity and not always tolerated or accepted well.
While I was blessed with some very fine male companions afield; I longed for female companionship while slinging turtle lines, gathering plants, and skinning squirrels. I longed for equipment that would work with my smaller hands and frame, for good hunting clothes that fit, I wanted what the men had, what made their days afield easier and better. I wanted a level playing field dammit.
Then somehow miraculously a few short years ago I met a woman called Barbara Baird, Publisher of Women's Outdoor News and instantly something clicked. I'd been spending so much time out there.. away from the real world in the woods that I had completely missed the revolution. There were women invading the outdoors in thundering herds! There was this thing called the Outdoor Sisterhood, there were women like me!
|A fun afternoon chasing carp with the Bad Ass Slingbow with fellow Prois Staffers Barb Baird and Stacey Huston|
When Barb opened that door, invited me in to the sisterhood, the broken twisted road to being a wild woman suddenly become a smooth sailing straight county blacktop. Through that door came wonderful, smart, funny, skilled, strong, women that build each other up, teach each other well, and spend countless hours afield together, - to quote my favorite Prois Hunting and Field Apparel saying "Taking Pride in Not Being One of The Guys."
|Just a small sample of my "Prois Gear Pile"|
It was Barb that also introduced me to Prois, to the finest outdoor and field clothing made for women in the industry. I was in heaven. Finally I had clothing that worked, was tough and durable, made my days afield easier, better, more productive. But most importantly, Prois is not just about gear; Prois is not just a faceless corporation spitting out glossy ads with pretty models. It's about the Outdoor Sisterhood, it's a community, it's a family. It's a company that supports women in the outdoors, and all that goes along with being a confident, strong and successful outdoors woman.
The more women from the "Prois Posse" that I met, the more I felt that I had found my home. My circle. My tribe.
|This new tribe - they understood how fun catching crawdads is!|
Just a few short days ago I learned I had been selected as part of the fabulous Field Staff for Prois. I cried. I must be honest - I'm still a little confused, because in my eyes, I'm just some batty old lady roaming around the wilderness with a goofy dog in tow, nothing like the other extremely accomplished, classy, talented women who's fill the ranks of Prois' Pro, Field , and Event staff. But make no mistake, I am honored and humbled, and grateful.
|And of course Willie is excited - he thinks he's famous now!|
As heartfelt welcomes to the staff and messages of congratulations poured in, I realized just what a force the women of Prois truly are, and what a caring, compassionate, and cohesive sisterhood they have formed.
Of all the messages, notes, and texts, it was the one from Barb that made the most sense.
She simply said, "Welcome Home".
Please have a little listen to this song ( The Wildest Heart by The Elms) - for me, it's about all the Prois women, all the outdoor sisters, all the girls afield in camo, boots, and waders, toting shotguns, bows, and running dogs. All the wonderful women who have fallen into my life the last few years - they truly have "The Wildest Hearts" .
I sleep well these recent nights, feeling I am home and knowing that those little girls out there now- wide eyed with wonder will not struggle alone finding their way, that the Outdoor Sisterhood is thriving, mentoring, and giving them the level playing field I longed for so long ago.
|Madison King , young Retrievers Unlimited Handler/Owner; part of our Outdoor Sisterhood future|
Prois - "Proof positive that it's no longer a man's world!" - Kelly Heard, Prois Field Staff