The Most Daring Adventure

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Now, how to define Life?

There are a number of definitions around, but I really like the one that says: “Life is a daring adventure—or nothing.” Now this isn’t a quote from the Wallenda who walked a high wire across Niagara Falls or a daredevil stunt man or even from the first man to travel into space. The words were spoken by Helen Keller.

It makes me rethink the meaning of those two words, ‘daring’ and ‘adventure.’ Of course, there are truly daring people—heroes like firemen and officers of the law and soldiers who face unknown  dangers for the good of all.  Then come those intrepid souls who dance on the edge of danger. Explorers who ignore ice or blazing heat to map new terrain, adventurers who climb frozen peaks or chart a solo course across the ocean in a fragile boat, divers who seek treasure in hulks of long forgotten ships under the sea— all of these  people easily fit one definition of ‘daring.’

One of my dear friends was one to whom adventure came naturally. Widowed at sixty, she joined the Peace Corps to share her knowledge of nursing. Later, she traveled the world, finding joy and excitement everywhere:  she was invited to share bread and tea in a Guatamalan goatherd’s hut; she visited China long before its doors were open to the West and stayed with a Chinese family; once she sat next to the pilot of a two-engine plane in Nepal. “You know,” I remember her telling me, “there was mist everywhere but then it parted… and right in front of us was Everest!” When I exclaimed over her daring, she laughed. “Everybody’s life is an adventure,” she said.

Not every one of us has a chance to view Everest at close quarters, but my friend has the right of it, for there is the kind of daring that ordinary people practice as a matter of course. What can be more ordinary—or daring—than the child who leaves home for the first time and travels to a far away city or a new country to attend college? Young people thrive on new places, friendships, ideas, and knowledge—and step bravely into adulthood every day. Then there are those immigrant families who, in spite of many difficulties, work hard to create a new life in a new world. And what of those who are physically or mentally challenged but who absolutely refuse to be marginalized? Or those stalwarts who face terrible losses due to earthquakes or tornados or hurricanes and somehow soldier on to build again in the face of an uncertain tomorrow?

I’m thinking that we are all more daring than we believe. I’m thinking that folks who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own but who still keep looking day after day have a silent, unsung bravery all their own. And what can be more courageous than a patient who will not let a disease control her and who insists on living each day as fully as possible?  My late friend, Lynne, was one of those people, and her too-short  life was a grand adventure.

Teachers who inspire student after student and set each on his or her confident journey … the little lady behind the cash register at the grocery store who always greets me with a lovely smile and a hug… the people who take in unwanted animals and give them love… writers and artists who weave their dreams into works they can share with the world… in their way all these people dare to work and dream. They are brave and, yes, the rest of us are, too. Perhaps our lives don’t generate headlines or get hits on U-tube, but we are all of us  travelers who undertake that greatest and most wondrous adventure of all: Life.

Each day, sun rises

Greet it with joy or sorrow…

The choice lies with us.

Sunset and a Fair Wind

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About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: maureen@wartski.org/ My blog is here: https://maureenwartski.wordpress.com/ Or friend me on Facebook!

13 responses »

  1. Maureen,
    Life is all about choices. May each one be a great adventure!

    By the way, I love the tie-dyed sky! I think this tapesty could inspire a poem naming fabrics to represent hills, flowers, oceans, etc.

  2. A most touching expression of life and adventure. Every day can be a adventure. as you say in the simplest offerings as we interact with people, animals, nature. .. just taking pleasure in whatever the day brings. and being here and now ..whatever life brings us.
    The fabric is so glorious. i am glad you were the one who found it.
    i shall hope my printer in color is strong enough to capture it. it will be on my frig to delight all who pause to look and share your art .. writing and quilt artist…
    and wise observation of what you see as you travel this world.

  3. If it wasn’t for the daring and adventure of Al’s grandmother who fled her country alone because she didn’t want to have to get re-married after her husband died, Al’s father would have never made it to the US and Al wouldn’t have been born here. Most glad he was!

  4. Dear Maureen, I have been out of the loop since returning from D.C. I loved this blog and it really connected with my heart. Your art work is spectacular and you get better with every endeavor.

    Much love to you, Mike and the rest of the family.

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