Friday, September 18, 2009

Anchors Away

Etched into the dermis of my left shoulder is a tattoo—the tattoo is that of a Compass. Like the family crest of the old English, plaids of the Scots, or the signet ring of the Prodigal’s father, that Compass holds iconic significance for me. In my core, the desire for adventure never takes a break. Never. Those who are hard-wired in such a way, know there is a special set of curses--as well as blessings--that accompany such a disposition.

Adventurers are . . .

Blessed, because they do not live with a fear to explore, risk, or advance into the unknown.

Blessed, because their comfort with the unfamiliar, positions them to be unusually blessed to experience the unusual.

Blessed, because situations others would find frantic—they find the romantic.

Blessed, because, to loosely quote Saint Augustine, “Life is a book, and those who never travel read only one page.” Adventurers are on the move—even when they are sitting still! Wide horizons and broad perspectives fuel their imagination.

They are also . . .

Cursed, because their fearlessness often leads to recklessness—risk is not weighed against reward. They will charge into the unknown with little more than a generous supply of optimism and naïveté. Careless.

Cursed, because they thrive on the rush and challenge that comes with the unfamiliar. But they do not let—or get—familiar enough with any one place, or any one person. Despite having no desire to be a loner, they are often alone.

Cursed, because the fine line that separates frantic and romantic can get blurred—the romantic often morphs frantic.

Cursed, because they are page-turners—they move on from one adventure to another. Too quickly. Too easily.

The Compass reminds me of the tension and freedom—vision and confusion—exhilaration and exasperation—and the blessing and curse of belonging to the fraternity of the Predisposed Toward Exploits. Notional winds always find the sails of the explorer ready to billow, and skim toward uncharted horizons. Journeys can get messy, and it is not uncommon to see such adventurers damaged or dashed to splinters on the ragged reefs of life. Getting off course, and staying on course are constant and equal threats.

My iconic compass prompts me to monitor the confluence of blessings and curses that flow through my lifeblood. It points are fixed and help me right my ship or confirm my bearings. Even though the sojourn may be circuitous, I will get to the right port . . . and listen for the prompt, “Anchors away.”

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