Once after a long arduous exploration of a cave in the Adirondacks we came to a broad underground river. It was the furthest anyone had ever been able to reach. I swam it and followed it upstream, deeply excited to be the first person in the history of the universe to walk up this raw muddy canyon far inside the earth.
It was adventure in its purest form. But what is adventure, and why does it draw us so? Is it just hunger for the unknown, mysterious – for a deeper awareness?
The need to know is in our DNA; we evolved because we’ve been always looking, testing new things, enlarging our consciousness and our world. But mystery has an attraction all its own – like sex, which too is mystery.
So the next time we squeeze down a cave we’ve never seen before, wander a hillside forest where no one has stepped since the Abenakis, climb a peak we’ve never climbed, paddle into a perfect little bay we never knew existed – we expand our lives, feel that marvelous deep inhalation of pure air, of new comprehension. . . Our world has grown bigger.
Adventure, from the Latin, means wandering toward. It is Parsifal seeking the Grail, a child exploring a store, a climber on a new ridge. We are surrounded by a world we do not understand, in the mystery of life. So let us adventure on, in safety.