March 23, 2021

The snow is still deep in places.


Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.

-Lovelle Drachman


Here in New England, we get most of our snow in January and February.  This year was no exception.  On the Marlborough rail-trail, there are deep heaps of snow along the sides where the tank-like snowblower threw it.  In many places, it is still two to three feet deep.   I walk behind Waldo, at the anchor end of the leash, as Waldo marches down the trail, then suddenly shoves his head into the drifts, up to his neck.  It reminds me of a video I saw, showing foxes hunting.  They jumped up, completely out of deep, fluffy snow, and dove headfirst into the pristine whiteness, so hard they nearly disappeared.  They would come out with a mouse in their mouths, ready for dinner.  Waldo comes out empty-mouthed, and, I suspect, if he was able to find something in there, it would be a stick, not an animal.  I’m not sure why he does that; maybe he’s just playing in the stuff.

Sometimes, Waldo climbs up on the snowbanks and trots along on top.  The snow is packed up there and he doesn’t sink in very far.  He’s not the only dog that does that.  I know because there are puppy tracks that he’s following.  Other times, he’ll be scampering along and suddenly veer off at a right angle to the path, jumping through piles of snow and into the bushes.  Something has caught his attention, but I can’t tell what it is.  Maybe he’s just off on an adventure.

Maybe that’s an apt descriptor for what these walks are for Waldo — an adventure.  They are for me.  Webster says an adventure is, “an exciting or remarkable experience,” or, “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks.”  They excite curiosity in me and leave me feeling enlivened.  The danger is muted, but it’s there.  I could slip, fall and sprain an ankle, or break something.  Waldo could get hit by a car as we crossed a street.  I never leave the house thinking that something bad could happen, but, hey, stuff happens.  You never know what’s out there, ready to grab you.  Every moment is new, risky and unknown.  All life, from the day you’re born until the day you die, is an adventure.

What would it be like if you approached every moment, thinking of whatever you were doing, whether it’s going to work, washing dishes, or walking the dog, as an adventure?  What if you thought of it as a probe into the unknown, risking your well-being, exploring what is possible in that moment?   Surely that’s all true.  Life itself is the greatest of adventures, even though the end-point is well known.  What happens in between birth and death is totally unknown until it’s in the past.  But it is the stuff of which adventure is made, no matter what you fill the time with.

I’ve always been an adventure junkie.  Sometimes my adventures have been relatively mild, and sometimes kinda wild.  But they’ve always been interesting to me.  Throughout my life, I couldn’t go an entire year without doing something off the reservation.  It was sometimes flying small planes in Australia, Africa or Mexico just to explore.  Sometimes, it was going on a trip to Brazil, just to see what the place and people were like.  Sometimes, it was going on a canoe trip on the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, just to see what it was like to live a week in the wilderness.  Sometimes, it was flying a light plane to Mexico to help out in medical and dental clinics, talking care of the needs of the poor people there.  And sometimes, it was taking up aerobatics just to see what it was like to dance in the sky.

Only now, in my later years, have I come to understand that every breath I take is an adventure.  All I need to do to live it is to open myself up to the moment — listen to the birds sing, insects buzz, and the trees whisper.  All I have to do is look at the universe around me.  To really see the trees around me, how their leaves change with the seasons, how vines wrap themselves around their trunks, how they provide habitats for many different animals.  All I have to do is be in the moment, be curious and full of wonder.  And, of course, watch Waldo.

Waldo is really good at showing me how to see every moment as an adventure.


C’mon! This way!

Leave a Reply