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Posts Tagged ‘rafting’

1953 House of Wax Movie Poster

Back in the mid-1950’s, I watched a movie called “House of Wax,” starring Vincent Price, whose character created his wax figures using people he killed. The part of the movie that stayed with me for months afterwards involved a missing head.

 Every time I went into the garage, which held a freezer and a washing machine, I feared I would come across that head. Perhaps the fact that the movie was presented in 3D had something to do with my fright, but I’ve not watched a true horror film since then.

But I have children, grandchildren and friends who love nothing better than going to a scary movie. I thought about the reason behind this willingness to be scared this morning. It popped into my head while I was reading Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird, in which the author talked about the fear of letting oneself be imperfect when writing that “first shitty draft.”

Before you ask, I have to say I don’t know why my brain made this odd connection. It just did. And then it jumped to what I have done over the years that gave me a fright. For one thing, I loved riding roller coasters, the bigger, faster – and scarier – the better.

And then in my 40s, I took up white-water rafting. There was nothing I enjoyed more than sitting in the front of a raft facing a roaring rapid – even after I fell out of the boat in Granite Rapid floating the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. When I was pulled back into the boat, after being thrashed through the racing water quite vigorously, I was still eager to take on the next stretch of rapids, of which there were many ahead.

 Was I afraid? Yes. But adrenalin coursed through my body and I felt more alive than ever. Remembering this, I might have just answered my own question of why people want to be scared.

But no way will I watch a horror movie.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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            “If  you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.” — Jim Valvano

The Difference a Half Century Makes 

It's got to be a perfect day if I get to go out birding with old friends. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It’s got to be a perfect day if I get to go out birding with old friends. — Photo by Pat Bean

A perfect day at 24 and at 74 is like two different worlds. In one I would be rafting down the Colorado, and making mad, passionate love under the stars with a soul mate that night.

In the other, I would be happy to have just met my writing goal for the day and to have learned or seen something new.

Watching an awesome pink and purple sunrise and a fiery orange and red sunset would be included in both worlds, however, as would be a good book to read, a nice stiff Jack and Coke (well it would have been a Virgin Coke in the first world because I didn’t drink until I was 37) before a gourmet dinner that someone else cooked.

And seeing birds, like this California quail only makes the day more perfect -- is that even possible? -- Photo by Pat Bean

And seeing birds, like this California quail only makes the day more perfect — is that even possible? — Photo by Pat Bean

A perfect day would also include feeling loved, which is easy at 74 but was nigh impossible at 24.

The truth is I’ve had many days I would consider perfect – and the closer to 74 I became the more abundant they’ve become. Hmmmmm?

Sure it would  be grand to tackle the Mighty Colorado through the Grand Canyon as the lead paddler in a six-person raft once again, but that’s something I’ve had to accept my 74-year-old body isn’t up to doing.

The end of  all my days on the river were all perfect days, but for some odd reason I find today’s  mellower activities  have a way of leaving me content and satisfied with my life in a way that I never was at 24.

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The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” — Oprah Winfrey  

All little kids know how to celebrate with birthday cake, even if it's not their birthday. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living.” — Amanda Bradley

The end of a good life is cause for celebration. The death in question here is my old raft which finally could be patched no more. Many people celebrated its passing.

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