“I thought I might go on an adventure tomorrow”, said my brother….
“Are you game?”
Now I had woken up on Christmas morning with a really sore throat, swollen glands and a bit of a fever- a reaction, I theorised, to the fact that I had taken it easy for a couple of days- put my feet up and even read a book – and my body had gone into complete shock!
But this was a challenge that could not be overlooked.
I grew up in a family where we spent most of our time in the outdoors doing weird and wonderful things- the more challenging and interesting the better- so my answer of course was “Count me in!” (Followed cynically by “Why, won’t your car make it??)
So, there we were, early on Boxing Day, precariously making our way over the edge of the highest cliff I had seen for a very long time. The aim: to make our way down to the “inaccessible” beach we could see in micro-miniature far below.
It was a looooooong way down and it wasn’t long before we both realised a couple of things:
a) that neither of us was as fit as we thought we were (and quite obviously the wrong side of 45) and:
b) that neither of us was going to be the first to admit to that fact!
My legs had turned to jelly long before I struck the steep crumbly bits with the loose rocks – not helped by the knowledge that each hand placement was near vegetation that quite probably housed a tiger snake much like the ones we’d seen on the way in….. Adrenaline is such a handy hormone!
By the time we finally reached the beach I had concluded that there was no way I was ever going to be able to make it all the way back to the top. I had a quick scout around for a suitable spot for my helicopter retrieval- if they ever found me that was!
After collapsing in the shade of a rock and moaning and groaning for (quite) awhile, we eventually revived enough to go off exploring and to eat the Xmas leftovers we had lugged down. Then we sat and chatted and absorbed the spectacular beauty of the magical place around us and talked about how lucky we are to live where we do and how we appreciate our parents for instilling in us a love of the world around us, a spirit of curiosity and adventure and a willingness to challenge ourselves and take a risk or two, and how that seems to be so lacking in many people these days….(Or as my brother so fondly put it “You are the only other person I know crazy enough to come and do this with me!”)
We reflected on how easy it is to get caught up in the mundane, the comfortable and the safe, never even realising that, on the other side of discomfort, lies the real richness of life….
We stayed down there on the pure white sand for hours marvelling at the unique rocks and caves and the sea-life on the reef until we couldn’t pretend any longer- it was time to face the awful truth- if we were going to ever get home again we would have to climb back up that humongous cliff that seemed to be growing higher and higher each minute. “Actually, I really like it here”, I decided. “I could build a cool little shack with all of that driftwood- could you just do me a food drop once a week?”
A quick dip in the ocean and we began the steep ascent, much of which for me was done on hands and knees (and yes, I’m hearing you body- we need to get a lot fitter!!)
So, it’s been all about ice packs and Deep Heat and dodgy knees in the day since, but it’s also been about laughing and teasing and a deep sense of shared accomplishment. It was a wonderful reminder about all of the “important stuff” and already we’re planning our next adventure- for something challenging but safe enough for the next generation to come along on, because it may be one of the most important things we need for them to know: that just outside of our comfort zones are the places where real magic takes place….