I will never forget that moment. It was then that I realized the immense power of the spirit of the hunter. A primal force that seeps in from the center. A place untouched by many and unknown to some. It comes from a sacred place and commands the forms of man that have evolved to survive in the “real world” to SIT DOWN and WATCH as A MAN stands front and center. Untouchable and fierce… a survivor. A Hunter.
As a female and single mother of two young children, I am constantly forcing myself to become more like a man to feel secure, independent and STRONG. I subconsciously do this to feel that I am keeping my children safe, be able to feed them on my own and provide all they need – to make THEM strong. I may be making them physically strong but the real strength lies in spirit.
The balance of mother and father is not present in my home. Not necessarily because I am doing it on my own but maybe because I am always trying to hide my feminine side to favor my masculine – sometimes throwing the balance off.
In neglecting the female side of my nature, I have forgotten to honor the part of me that is naturally a MOTHER. The kindness and the softness that a Mother affords helps the spirit grow. The love and constance, and unselfish care – the tenderness of a Mother helps the spirit grow. It creates a safe space to allow what is needed to complete the whole.
We NEED our MOTHERS.
This realization came to me when I read a tender story from Eastmans’ Hunting Journal written by Ike and Guy’s mother, Bertie Eastman. Bertie is a sweet woman who has been married to Mike Eastman and by his side through the whole journey that we call Eastmans’ Hunting Journals. She has seen it all. We are constantly reminded to check ourselves with “The Bertie Test,” which means, be good. Keep your behavior in line only with what Bertie would approve of. A taste of her tender love and care is expressed in these excerpts from her article in the 1998 August/September issue of Eastmans’ Hunting Journal.
The story was based on her first antelope hunt with Mike after 23 years of watching him hunt and not understanding his passion.
She explained in the article, “I never understood that part of him. To be honest, the time and money he spent on hunting even made me mad at times. You can imagine my reaction when he informed me we were going to start a hunting magazine. After the second issue, I worried he had used up all his hunting stories and the ideas would soon come to an end. Not so. I just didn’t understand the world of hunting. In 1989 we took our 24-page magazine to the first mule deer sports show in Salt Lake City. It was there I saw what happens to men when you show them photos of nice trophies. They are instantly transformed into another world. Their eyes light up and their entire being becomes focused and alert. It’s as if the rest of the room no longer exists. They have entered into the world of the hunter.”
She reveals what it was like for a gentle mother to hunt and her husband’s reaction to her.“Handling a gun was second nature to Mike, who had a hard time understanding why I was all thumbs. After spending time at the rifle range, I felt I was ready to go when hunting season rolled around. Mike was determined to find a public land trophy antelope that I’d be proud of taking on my first hunt. We looked at dozens of antelope. He seemed to be enjoying himself but I was silently sinking into a world of worry. Now I wasn’t sure I could kill a creature. I had been a mother for over 20 years. Mothers guard and protect, love and cuddle. What was I doing? Eventually, Mike stopped looking so intently at the antelope and glanced over at me. “Are you alright?” He asked full of concern. “I’m just not sure I can do this,” I replied. He gently took my hand, held it for a minute and answered, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.” With those words the pressure was off and I knew I was free to choose. I chose to go hunting.”
It’s hard to say that Mike couldn’t have done it without Bertie, because he is obviously a capable man but I have seen them together and there is a side of Mike you don’t see unless Bertie is around. The way she wrote the article about their hunt clued me into the fact that she was an essential component to all that is Eastmans’. For sure, we wouldn’t have Guy and Ike around without Bertie, and with that we honor her as the Mother of Eastmans’ – who has nurtured strong hunters.
The way she wrote the article came from a deep respect and love for her husband who also felt the same about her. Thank goodness for this union and the compassion, and honor they had for each other to create a solid and loving foundation for the Eastman family.
When I decided to apply at Eastmans’ Hunting Journals, I had no idea what I was in for. Now I’m starting to see that I have only begun a journey of spirit. The spirit of a Mother of a Hunter.
Thank you Bertie…