I have tried to kill myself climbing mountains, hiking, whitewater kayaking, ocean kayaking, and hot air ballooning, but now I think I may have finally found the way : Mountain biking !!! I just received, and built within an hour, my Schwinn Protocol One dual suspension mountain bike. This baby has front disc brakes, 21 gears, and actually bounces when you hit a bump ! I' ll be up in the mountains this weekend, so check the obits on Monday morning ! ( To my Pagan friends let me just say that if the Gods haven' t killed me yet, it is not going to happen now ! )
Now, when I say I was trying to kill myself, I don' t mean that literally ! It is just that many of the things that I have done in my life have had an edge of danger to them...... and I like it !! There is something that is very pure about doing something that seems beyond, or at least far away from, the normal things that you do. I remember the first time I went up in a sea plane in Maine. The plane slapped the water so hard on takeoff that I thought the plane was going to shake apart. I was scared out of my mind ! Then when he landed his stall alarm went off, ( he set it higher than it needed to be for safety' s sake ), and nearly gave me a heart attack. For the 2 hours we were in the air, however, I saw some of the most beautiful sights that I have ever seen in my life. Wonderful mountains led down into lush valleys; streams coursed gracefully into beautiful lakes; and from the air we saw bears and Moose. It was fabulous !
The same things can be said about my first climb, Whiteface Mountain, my first ocean kayaking experience, ( If you want to feel really small and insignificant, go out to the Atlantic, or the Pacific oceans, and paddle out until the shore is just on the horizon. That is some scary stuff ! Nothing but water my friends, and you are sitting just inches above it, with waves cresting over the front of your kayak. Hot air ballooning is only scary when you try to land !
So what the hell does this have to do with religion you may ask. Well, nothing. Or maybe everything ! The Gods and Goddesses put all these things at our fingertips to experience and to enjoy, and yet only a small fraction of the people who live in this world ever try some of these wonderful activities. People are afraid to die so they pass on the opportunity to experience a higher level of living ! I have always felt that dying is the easy part . Living, is a much harder thing to do in my opinion ! And the great thing is, that once you experience the thrill of reaching the top of a mountain, or survive a dunking in a whitewater rapid, you get to keep that thrill forever ! It becomes a part of you like your legs, or your arms. You become a part of that experience forever ! And it makes for great stories at parties too !
So the next time you feel that maybe you are to afraid to try something new, reach deep down inside yourself for the courage to do it. Because if you don't, then you are only living half a life, and will never conquer the scariest thing that any of us ever have to face, and that is our own fear. I don't remember where I read this but I wrote down this Viking credo years ago, and will share it with you now :
The truth is that life is hard and dangerous;
that those who seek their own happiness do not find it;
that those who are weak must suffer;
that those who demand love will be disappointed;
that those who are greedy will not be fed;
that those who seek peace will find strife;
that truth is only for the brave;
that joy is only for those who do not fear to be alone;
that life is only for the one who is not afraid to die !
The only thing I will add is that if you do choose to do any of these activities, learn all about safety first ! There is a major difference between pushing the envelope, and recklessly endangering ones life ! Be safe everyone and enjoy the life that the Gods gave us !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !