This may be the last blog you ever read (or ignore – or delete in disgust) from me. Are those cheers I’m hearing? Or sighs of relief? Here’s the scoop: Tomorrow morning, Thursday, May 13 (lucky day – at least it isn’t a Friday), hopefully at about 3 a.m. CDT (the horrendous hour will be an attempt to clear Memphis before morning rush hour and Dallas before the evening rush on the way west to my daughter’s home in Hobbs, New Mexico for a B&B – about 1,100 miles that day), a friend and I will embark on a 2-week road trip from Tennessee to New Mexico then up through Arizona, Utah, and a corner of Colorado with the ultimate destination being Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The intent will be to visit as many national parks/monuments as possible spending several days in YNP photographing scenery and wildlife. So why might I never blog again, you ask? If you’re still there…can anybody hear me? Hello! No response? Guess I’ll just write this for my wife…I think she still reads them. She’s an avid reader. That’s one of the things I love about her. She’s always filling her mind and heart with the new, the inspirational, the motivational…she just doesn’t blog as often as I think she could since she is also an amazing writer. Oh, well…but I digress.
Why the fatalistic outlook at the start of this keying? I realize the danger into which I am driving. Anything could happen; and as Jacob McCandles (John Wayne in Big Jake) and Richard Boone (Have Gun Will Travel hero gone bad) both uttered in that old flick, “Anything goes wrong, anything at all, you’re fault, my fault, nobody’s fault, [somebody’s] gonna be dead.” There are a lot of ways to perish. On this road trip we will face the possibility of some of the following: a stalactite falling from the roof of Carlsbad Caverns and piercing my skull (it won’t be a stalagmite because those grow from the ground up – you can remember the difference because stalaCtite has a “c” for ceiling and stalaGmite has a “g” for ground); a big wind blows me off the overlook edge at the Grand Canyon (Have you ever tried to navigate Lava Falls on the Colorado River without even a life jacket?); a jeep plummets onto my head and crushes me at Canyon de Chelly, Arizona (Remember the TV commercials 20-30 years ago that used to show a helicopter depositing a vehicle on top of the pinnacle rock rising from that national monument’s dry river bed?); a rock slide in Zion NP covers me in debris (and nobody even wants to try locating and rescuing me – where’s Beethoven when you need him…the St. Bernard, not the composer, silly); a mountain lion surprises me with a leap from a castle-like formation in Bryce Canyon NP and scratches me to death; those are just a few of the scenarios on the way to YNP.
Of course the danger zone heightens in Wyoming. The abundance of BIG wildlife in the Yellowstone/Teton area makes my demise more feasible. I could be trampled by a bull elk; rammed by a big horn sheep, mauled by a grizzly; tired-to-death by watching deer and antelope playing enthusiastically; dive-bombed by an eagle; swallowed whole by a giant pelican (saw a large fish done-in that way some years ago – have photos to prove it…the whole sequence from flight and underwater capture to gullet enhancement and swallowing); gored by a bull moose; stampeded by an angry bison; pelted with pine cones by a mad squirrel (not as big, but just as deadly); gnawed on by a rabid hoary marmot…the list seems endless. So why brave these many challenges. Actually these animals have all signed an APFT (Animals Posing for Tourists) contractual agreement stating that, as a member of the Animals’ Union, they agree to take turns posing in roadside meadows to be photographed by park visitors; so there is little or no real danger. Isn’t is delightful that in the English language slim and fat mean the same thing. Chances of my being discombobulated by wildlife in YNP are slim chance and fat chance. Moving on…
It’s all about adventure in the second half of my life. I am 61 years young; and Dr. Axe says I should live to 120 years and still be active. So the next decades of existence I will try to fill with new adventures. That mindset actually began in the fall of 2007, when I sat in a rocking chair for 75 hours, 7 minutes, and 5 seconds in the Curry Christian Life Center with only a few short breaks and very little sleep. I was one of six Martin Methodist College participants (and the only non-student) to break the Guinness World Record for continuous rocking. It was an effort to raise the final 50K dollars needed to fix and reopen the natatorium (swimming pool to you non-mermaid/merman types) for our college and the people of Giles County. I call that Rock ON my mid-life adventure – my greatest trek into the unknown to that point (other than my marriage over 39 years ago to the most wonderful woman on the planet – can only speak for Earth as I have not been to any others as yet…but there is still hope and a lot of years left – NASA, are you listening?). I still can visualize clearly in my mind the hallucinations I encountered during those last 10 hours in that ominous rocking chair that now resides in a corner of my master bedroom. I routinely use it for sitting upon and tying my shoes (actually I tie the laces only; tying the actual shoes would be more of a challenge than I could stand).
So for the next 50-60 years I will try to exceed the limits of that rocker challenge – not always with death-defying stunts like this 2-week road gambol, but with new and different trips into the geographical as well as the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual realms of life. I don’t know what all God has in store for me during my remaining time on this earth – albeit fewer than two weeks (i.e. stalactite fondue?) or more than twenty years – but I know He has repeatedly promised to bless me and lead me on adventures of which I have never yet dreamed. Only He can take me boldly where I have never gone before. To be continued…perhaps.
- ▼ May (3)