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Life Should Be An Adventure

Helen Keller quote life adventure.jpg Life is an adventure, if you treat it that way.

Christopher Columbus,  Ferdinand Magellan, Neil Armstrong — we think of these men in history as the ultimate explorers and conquerors of oceans, new worlds, space. But do we really need to set sail across an unknown ocean in a rickety boat or thrust into space on (the equivalent of) a bomb to be adventurers?

I think not.

Adventures and new discoveries are all around. And much safer if you’d take the time to look around.

You can play one of two parts: Participant or mere observer. Participants get to tell great tales of their travels, discoveries and gained knowledge. Observers sit on the sidelines and watch the true adventurers pass by. Content to hear second hand what they were too lazy, unwilling or afraid of to try for themselves.

My Dad could take the smallest and most mundane of events and turn them into great adventures to entertain small children. We didn’t have much money growing up or new shiny things but we had a father with a great imagination.

He’d take us to the beach to hunt for crabs. We’d count legs (some with ten, some missing) and observe their forward locomotion and stepping patterns. He’d show us the apron of the crab’s underbelly; the way to tell a male from a female. Then we’d pretend to be crabs and have races. Innocent fun.

Later, he thought “blueberrying” was the perfect adventure to distract teenage girls.

Dad wore the outfit — long pants, long sleeves, brim hat, bug spray, sunscreen, a bucket around his neck, and dozens of rags torn in long frayed strips. Tied to trees every ten feet or so, these would lead us back safely should we become lost deep in the woods. His entire set-up was equal parts embarrassing and hysterical to girls dressed in cute shortie shorts and strappy sandals, more interested in boys than berries.

Until we found ourselves lost — after ditching him — and panic stricken. We trod for what seemed hours through brambles and pricker bushes, our freshly shaved legs ripped and bloody. Mosquitoes only too happy to snack on every exposed inch of skin while the hot July sun fried our faces and soaked our long stringing hair.

Suddenly we spotted the small white rags. S.O.S. lifesavers scattered through the unmarked terrain. We followed them dutifully back to the car.  And Dad.

“What an adventure!” he said, sipping cold water while perched on the car hood shaded by towering oak trees. Without a word he showed off his full bucket.

I don’t recall even having returned with a bucket.

My father didn’t just see the majestic in the minor. He tried to teach us to take the time to live it and reap its harvest.

Adventures tease our every day but our preoccupation with hurry often keeps us from living it. Make life an adventurer, or make it nothing. By land, sea or air. It’s your choice of course.


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Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

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  • My favorite answer to my wife’s question of “what do you want to do today?” has always been “go on an adventure!”. I never tell her anything and she spends the travel time trying to figure out the what/where details. Little does she know, I log her guesses in my memory for future adventures. I have now grandchildren who excitedly ask “Pop-pop, can you take us on an adventure?” I am more than pleased they find my “make it up as we go” adventures exciting. I live vicariously through their wide eyed wonder of discovery. Our last adventure was to find and hear a Mimi (as they call my wife) bird calling out miiimee, miimeee. I can do a pretty decent mimic of the black capped chickadee call and when one called back to me and came close to us, they froze in their tracks with grins a mile wide. Adventure complete and we had to run home so they could tell Mimi what happened.

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