Do you long for an extinction level event? Have you ever fantasized about head-butting the annoying person in front of you at Star Bucks? Are you prone to full-tilt diva workplace meltdowns? Did “Chicken Soup for the Middle American Confused Middle Child Who Wasn’t Hugged Enough” not make a lasting impression on you? Do you dream about cutting through your office walls with a chainsaw? You’re not alone. I, too, struggle within this endless urban sprawl, cookie cutter concrete matrix. So how do I keep from going crazy? Two words: nature and adventure.
Standing in mid-calf-deep water, aquatic grasses and the occasional insect tickles my leg, as greasy clay mushes between my toes. I’m waiting for that moment when the first light of day dances through the atmosphere. Shifting shades of reds, pinks, and oranges are standing ready to usher in the sun. It’s been a rough week, but those frustrations are melting away. Lauren and I are at Sam Rayburn Reservoir on a small plot of property my grandfather bought long before I was born.
My dad taught me to navigate in these woods with a compass and map. My mom taught me to cook and (sort of) how to control my temper. I learned about weather patterns, water pressure, seasons, flora, fauna, and ecology. While building our tiny cabin, I learned how to use a hammer and saw. I was allowed to run free, encouraged to explore, and camp. I found wonder in the nature around me. Growing in her company, nature was my playmate, my teacher, and my companion.
From that steep drop off, I rode my bike downhill, launching it into the water. Around that next cove, I asked my dad if I could jump from the boat. We were traveling at 47 knots. I assumed the water would make for a nice soft landing. Oh physics, you’re a fickle mistress. I guess dad assumed I wasn’t serious. So, we agreed this event would be added to the growing list of things MOM can’t know. For the cost of a few lightly bruised ribs, I met adventure. We became great friends; he encouraged me to jump and take risks.
To this day, nature, in her infinite beauty and balance, amazes and soothes me. Adventure, with its sense of excitement and spontaneity, reminds me I’m alive. Nature and adventure: where one goes, the other follows. As my shutter released, I wondered if my grandfather could have imagined me taking pictures of his “jungle” with one of his cameras (now an antique). This little hidden place is in my heart; it was here that I met nature and adventure.
So your job sucks. But it’s got to be better than that person who quality control tests rectal thermometers. “Butt” seriously, maybe you just need to get away and spend some time with nature and adventure. If you don’t know how to camp. It’s alright. Take it slow, borrow some gear, and start small. Remember that making a few mistakes is how we learn. Just don’t try to start your campfire with gasoline or walk into a desert with a single bottle of water. Start slow. Don’t do anything Bear Grills does. Do not sleep in the decaying carcass of a goat. Do not drink your own urine or eat the remains of a bloated dead fish. These are not socially acceptable camping experiences. Do take some time to listen and look, and if adventure shows up, be ready to jump!