Today I stopped at the Howling Wolf, which is good place for Mexican food, which is a miracle, because I am from Escondido, CA and I now live in Salem, MA. Decent Mexican food in New England was a miracle when I first moved here in 1999. The area has since upped its culinary game and there is more than roast beef sandwiches, fried fish, and lobbies to be found on the North Shore of Boston.
I was sitting with my fish tacos and a toasted lager, and Angelina came by. I hadn’t realized Angelina was in, and so she snuck up on me, but then I think Angelina will sneak up on just about anybody, even in plain sight, and even when you know she’s coming. But, that’s because Angelina is an adventure waiting to happen. That is exactly what I told her today. I asked how she was doing. She said, “Well, you know – having a good time, and….” There were no specifics, but I know that for Angelina things are only the same when they are filled with adventure, and something crazy going on. So, I remarked, “You are an adventure waiting to happen.” It is so true of Angelina, and I suppose that in some manner it is true for myself as well. I read Tolkien far too many times when I was young. I want the trees to talk, and I don’t mind interruptions to my elevenses (even though I want my elevenses too). I want crazy old men dancing in the ancient woods singing to the streams, and wizards in tall hats making smoke rings. I want mystical places with people conversing about life and death (Jide Alade), and I want to blow things up, or burn them down to the ground.
Even Dr. Kahn remarked this afternoon that being weird was better than being normal, and he was talking about me. That felt like high praise from the Mr. Cool of doctors. There is a downside to being an adventurous individual though. Adventures cannot be adventures without some persistence, and a little danger. You have to nearly tumble down the waterfall to your death – and laugh(Dafydd Morse), make friends with people who will ruin your reputation, or wait long hours for the exact moment of a happening no one else will stay around for. You won’t find the moonbow in the early evening. You won’t feel the magic anointing of the bard rest upon you without spending all night on the mountain. You won’t have the opportunity to cheer as your hard work burns to the ground, unless you take the risk to build a funeral pyre to your idols. (Yes, perhaps there’s more than a hint there for our next project)
The first time I answered the question, “Why do you do what you do?” as part Tony Deifell’s photography project, I was at Burning Man and I answered, “Because people are the adventure of life.” I brought the project to Salem a few years later, and I answered it differently this time, “Because I am afraid of becoming insignificant.” Adventure and people are inherent to significance. In some sense, I realize that I am addicted to adventure, but so are my favorite people, and so, it seems, were the heroes of my faith. Jesus, and Paul, and Saint Patrick, and perhaps the reformer whose birthday I share, all carried a little bit of the adventurer in them.
When I was twelve or thirteen years old, and I was reading the Lord of the Rings, or perhaps Evangeline Walton’s retelling of the Mabinogion, I thought to myself, “Life isn’t worth living unless you have something worth dying for.” The obscene hermeneutic of today’s self-obsessed world, assumes that people who have something worth dying for are the people who would kill for their beliefs, but I reject that false binary. Perhaps a paradox rules us instead, it is the people who do not have anything more important than their own lives, who are more likely to risk your life for the sake of their own survival. The adventurer on the other hand, seems to intrinsically know that there is something better, deeper, more valuable than this fleeting moment, and he/she will risk this moment for the betterment of others. In that sense, I am addicted to adventure, and adventurers are my favorite people.
Rock on Angelina.