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“Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.” Terri Guillemets

My old raft's last tumble among the waves, July 2007, Snake River near Jackson, Wyoming.

Travels With Maggie

One of the great things about growing older is discovering that passion doesn’t always have to involve sex. It can be anything that gets your blood pumping, your heart racing and gives you immense pleasure.

My greatest passions these days include writing, family, friends, Maggie, travel, books, birds, learning new things and nature. I’m grateful for each and every one of them. They give both meaning and joy to my life.

When I was younger, passion had only one meaning – and it came with a lot of angst. It usually does when there’s another person involved in fulfilling your own wants and needs. And that’s especially true when you’ve made wrong choices about whom to love.

My friend, Kim, and I, sit in the raft -- filled with water as it always was after a big rapid -- one last time.

Thus it was in 1983, at the ripe old age of 44 ,that I found myself without the soul mate I always expected to have in my life – but didn’t. The five children I had with a non-soul mate had all flown the coop, and my second attempt at connecting passion with a soul mate had just ended badly.

I was totally on my own for the very first time. And then passion found me.

I was invited to raft down a stretch of the Snake River with a friend – and I fell passionately in love with white water.

Camping was always part of the rafting agenda. This photo was taken at the East Table Campground beside the Snake River in the Targhee National Forest

Within weeks I had bought my own raft, and for the next 20 years, it never missed a summer going down at least one stretch of white water, often more. There were always plenty of friends willing to help paddle.

And oh the adventures we all shared. We never tire of telling them again and again.

They all came back to me in a flash yesterday when I was sorting through my photographs. Among them was a file I hadn’t opened that my friend, Kim, had sent me of the retirement party that we gave for that old raft in 2007.

Many of those who had paddled it came for the celebration.

As I reviewed the photos that had been taken at the party, my eyes moistened. That raft was what taught me that passion had more than one meaning.

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