Embrace the Adventure! (das Abenteuer zu umarmen) German is spoken a great deal in our household as our 2 kids are in a German Immersion program, and I am doing my best to keep up with them. It seemed fitting to inspire all of you out there to seek out your own adventure, with German, because the Germans are hearty travelers and we ran into a fair amount of them out in this mighty, amazing, vast expanse of sand/salt/sky/and wonder.
In a past life, I believe I must have lived in a desert. Something about the endless horizon, the powerful silence, the whistling wind, the brilliant sky, the barren landscape, the interminable heat…makes my heart, body & soul, go all a pitter pat pat:) My kids and I just returned from a 3 day jaunt to Death Valley, and if you have never been, all I can say is that you must. It is perhaps the fiercest National Park in the United States, and I mean fierce in these ways: fierce in its beauty, its bounty, its intensity, its peace, its silence, its demands, its wildlife, its brilliance, its sand, its heat, its lack of water, its presence, its overwhelming awesomeness!
My first foray into the demanding sun of desert life was in the Middle East, first in Israel, where I worked on a moshav, out in the grape fields for several months, and then in Egypt, where I traveled the length of the Nile for about 6 weeks. I’m a Mid-West girl, used to long COLD winters, short humid summers, luscious melting springs, and love-is-in-the-air Autumns. Dry, brutal heat was a new experience for me and yet, I felt oddly at home, and very much in love with this new experience of living. There was a rhythm to the day, out in the grape fields in Israel, that was almost melodic: early rise in the cool dark of morning, watching the sun explode into life, the song of birds calling across the fields, the scoop of wind that would tickle the silence as it whistled through the leaves, cooling the back of the nape like a splash of water. Hot peppers on pita for lunch to make you sweat, and cool you off – hot Turkish coffee with sugar as dessert, to make you sweat and cool you off….one does not rush in the desert, one moves with the demands of the sun, slowly, easily, letting go of all things but the here and now, of this precise moment.
While my kids and I were in Death Valley, we too followed the ritual of time according to the sun: we rose early – (due to the gathering of birds that would congregate in the tree above our tent and proceed to sing amazing and strange bird song until the sun peaked above the distant mountains…never heard anything like them :). We ate little (mainly fruits), set out and explored while the sun was low on the horizon…returned to camp in the height of the day to hide in the shade, rest, read, crack open the many wicked-cool rocks and crystals we found, play card games…and then wait for the sun to begin its descent so we could get out and explore some more! The picture above are salt crystals that cover an ancient, dried up lake bed – the area is known as The Devil’s Golfcourse (cool name huh!) See pic below for a better scope of what this area looks like.
Here is my son, a truly happy camper as he explored these ancient salt formations. He could hang there all day if not for the brutal heat that presses down from the endless sky. Such a wicked cool adventure, this place, this park. It is wild, foreign, harsh, insanely beautiful, and humbling.
I think life is meant to be an adventure. There is something profound about placing yourself outside of your daily experience…about moving yourself beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Adventure stretches you, expands your understanding of what it means to live; it allows you to dig into the depths of your own capacity to face the unknown and to rise to a challenge…I think of it this way: the universe is ever expanding, ever pushing further and further into un-chartered territory, moving outward and forward in deep continuation…it would serve us humans well to follow the universe’s lead and continue to expand and grow and press onward and forward as well. So, get out there – Explore! Adventure awaits.