My friend Sarah and her daughter, Kayla, came over for a visit the other day. Kayla was no damsel in distress on this day; she was happy and giggly and eager to get to know Tiger. They played ball on the stairs tirelessly for over an hour, dog and child finding joy in the simple act of fetch and retrieve. Kayla never questioned the goal of the activity, nor complained as the tennis ball grew ever wetter with slobber. She simply delighted in the moment. It was adorable to watch this slight three-year-old learn to command the ninety-five pound pit bull as she ordered him “down” before she would release the ball, letting it tumble down the stairs. When her mom announced that it was time to go, Kayla initially protested, begging to stay and play with Tiger a bit longer. Soon, however, she brightened, and asked, “Is it time for another adventure?” Sarah responded to her daughter in the affirmative and then turned to me and said, “Actually, we’re going to the grocery store, but for her that is an adventure.”
I can’t claim that I am able to view a trip to Publix as an adventure, but I love the message from little Kayla – approach every experience with curiosity and allow for excitement even in the mundane.
My own adventure came a few days later, when my boyfriend and I went to visit a friend in St. Marys, a small town tucked in the southeastern corner of Georgia. It was a short trip – an entire summer in one long weekend sandwiched between writing a book (which will be released soon!!!) and my return to school. Like Kayla, my boyfriend and I found joy in the smallest details of each day. My friend, whom we stayed with, had the brilliant idea of installing an outdoor shower in an enclosed and decked-in area of his backyard. We must have showered three times a day, enjoying the spray of the water against sweaty skin and delighting in the fresh air and sounds of the birds.
We ventured into Florida for our first beach day, enjoying the sun, sand, and surf which eludes us in our usual land-locked lives. After returning to St. Marys that afternoon (and taking another shower, of course!), we made our way into “downtown” on the city’s premier transportation method: a golf cart. It was a lovely change of pace from Atlanta’s usual gridlock. Somehow, you can’t feel road rage-ish on a golf cart. It’s scientifically impossible.
We made our way to an outdoor patio where Three-Fingered Nick (our “blues” name for him) was playing a couple sets with a few other musicians. Nick is so unbelievably inspiring. He was a well-known and extremely talented guitarist. After losing a finger and part of his thumb, he stayed away from playing for a time, but with the encouragement of his wife, eventually returned to the guitar. He sounds amazing. Not just amazing for a man with three fingers, but just plain amazing. I love meeting people who have persevered through difficulty. They show the true beauty of the human spirit.
The next day, my friend took us to Cumberland Island on his boat. We wove through miles of pristine marshland, the only boat on the water. My friend, a naturalist and passionate protector of the St. Marys river, answered our questions and pointed out wildlife and habitat features. It was stunning.
He dropped us off on the island. As I had done the official tour last year, I took on the role of tour guide for my boyfriend. Cumberland Island is a beautiful blend of history and nature, with a generous smattering of mosquitoes. We walked for mile or so through the dark and atmospheric woods formed by the low, twisting branches of the live oaks, their limbs decorated with the lacy veils of Spanish moss. The air was heavy with humidity that seemed to even dull the sounds of the cicadas that surrounded us. We were alone on the paths, making it easy to imagine being on those roads a hundred years prior. Before air conditioned. Shudder.
Our first destination was the ruins of the Carnegie mansion at Dungeness Point. Since I am much more educated about the sciences than Georgia history, I’m afraid I didn’t do this part of the tour justice.
We then walked along a boardwalk to make our way to the beach (all we could think about at this point was sinking into the cold waves). We spotted an alligator off the side of the path. Luckily, my boyfriend did not have to prove to the gator that he’s a black belt:)
The surf felt as amazing as expected. Cumberland is a different coastal experience. A special place. No more than 300 people are allowed on the island at a time, so the sands are relatively bare. There are no shops, no bars. In fact, you must carry in and remove anything you want with you. It’s backpacking on the beach. It was hot, sandy, and humid. But it was perfect.
The beach is home to a large herd of wild horses. There were several enjoying the beach along with us. This particular stallion stood facing the ocean for hours, seemingly enjoying the feel of the wind on his face. Or maybe he was debating about trying to swim across the Atlantic? Or, waiting for a message in a bottle from his long-lost mare ? Who knows? I just know I felt as peaceful as he looked.
Most of us do not get to have experiences like these frequently. However, as Kayla showed me, we don’t have to wait until we have the time or money (or the friend who bought a house at the beach!) to have an adventure. We can find thrills in every day. Even at the grocery store.
So, what do you say? Want to go on an adventure?
- Cumberland Island, GA (365til30.com)