Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There is no guarantee of your safety.

This is part of a sign at the start of a hiking trail in Glacier National Park , where Jason works this summer.

I like the sign. I saw it a few weeks ago when I started up the trail, waiting for Jason to get off work. It goes on to state all kinds of things you may encounter should you choose to embark upon this immensely dangerous journey: bears, ice, glaciers, falling off cliffs, nose bleeds, aneurisms, hot air balloon accidents, swallowing your popcicle stick, etc. I like the sign because it is true - on trails and in life. There is absolutely no one saying with a straight face, "It's okay - you're gonna get out of this thing alive and whole and without heartache or broken bones." Nope. The fact is that you're gonna bleed, sweat, be abandoned or neglected once or twice, chip your tooth, and lose your keys innumerable times. And anytime there's raw honesty in a statement, I can get behind it.

What this statement does is free me up, man. Let's live! Go ahead and brace yourself for the fact that this life is ever-changing, and you'll be ever-losing and ever-winning. There is no guarantee of your safety. Maybe this is part of the reason I am never unbearably sad when I hear of someone's death while they're out adventuring. Climbers of trees and mountains, sea-farers, travellers of the world - these people, I say, die if you must. Because you're living! Of course, I feel the same way about other liv-ers: thinkers and drawers and talkers. If I get the impression someone has really embraced life and wonder and beauty, no matter their personal adventure level, I am saddened by their death, but not the kind of hopeless, bottomless sadness that engulfs you otherwise.

Take for example the Florida small plane crash of yesterday, where 5 people perished - two pilots and three people in the homes that the plane hit. For some darn reason, I am "so-so" saddened by the pilots' deaths, because they were intentionally doing something inherently dangerous: flying in a small metal tube high above the earth, choosing to make enemies with the very powerful force known as gravity. They took on a risk, and they lost. But the people at home - aagh! That breaks my heart, especially the mum and little baby. I think, "Boooo for death!" and wish like crazy it wasn't so. Of course, they could have just gotten home from an all-night canoe trip into alligator-infested waters and were sitting there reminiscing, mum talking on the phone and baby making jaw-like gestures with his arms. Because we can't all die actually in the act of doing something life-full.

So, anyway, thoughts of death like this make me want to live my life living.


tamie said...

yippee! brilliant! you started a blog! and i love love this entry on death & living fully. yep, i surely do. just two days ago i was hiking through a wild thunderstorm with some friends, and it sure did feel like living from the heart to me. later, nick commented on how i make random statements about death, and i thought it was really funny, because it is really true, and funny too, because i do it around a bunch of people who might never bring up the topic were it not for me. no, that's probably not fair. but they wouldn't bring it up on a daily basis!

anyway, i am happy you started this blog, and i am happy you are my friend.

Amaranth said...

Interesting to know.