Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ledges In Me

Below is the first post I wrote for Enjoying the Adventure. I often wonder if a reader may sometimes be thinking, Bill, you don't sound like you're enjoying the Adventure. Ironically, it is the difficulties of the journey that lead to its unspeakable enjoyment. Adventures mean unpredictable events. That is why we are drawn to Adventure. That is why we share, read books, and watch movies of Adventure. We yearn for Adventure. We want our life to matter. We want to leave a trail others can follow . . .

We have a cabin in Maine on a river. Up-river, to the north, the Penobscot splits and slides around an island. The lesser water flows around the back side and is shallow; at times you can wade from the mainland to the island. The bigger water flows between our cabin and the island. Millions of gallons of water swing around the head of the island and are forced into a bottle-neck. Sometimes the water comes through violently, but always in a hurry. The year-round rushing water and the ice that leaves every spring are indiscriminate. All that can be moved is. Every year the banks and shore line change. Some trees are viciously scarred; others are whisked away or left leaning into the water. Sand bars come and go. Rocks are tumbled downstream for hundreds of feet. New fishing holes emerge and others disappear. Every summer we cannot wait to see how the view from our cabin will change. Every year it does -- except for one thing: The ledges remain.

For hundreds of years Indians sorted their catch from nets on those ledges. Log drivers stopped to catch their breath, have a smoke, or share a tale. Countless families and romantics have dragged their canoes over the hydro-polished stone to stop and fish, have a picnic, or bask in the sun as the water rumbled by. The Indian's and log driver's way of life is but a memory, captured in old diaries and faded pictures. Generations have come and gone. The ledges remain.

Life around us changes and so must we, but I want to have some ledges in me. I want to have some sturdy places inside that remain constant when all else is changing: I want to click off many, many more anniversaries with the woman I fell in love with and married. I want to continue to dream with her about far away places and adventures together. I want to take time to listen to my kids (they are young adults) share their lives -- the good and the painful. I want to affirm my belief in them, always! I want to remain committed to the way of life God has provided for me through a simple act of faith. I want that life to be attractive to others who are searching for the purpose for which they are created. I want to be authentic -- there are enough posers.

So much that surrounds the ledges is more beautiful for a time: soaring pines, the Indian Paintbrush that grows on the banks, the eagles that screech and glide over the water. The beauty of the ledges is not their color -- a drab grey. The beauty of the ledges is not their symmetry -- they are mostly flat and smooth. What is their beauty? The ledges remain.

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