As children fear seemed less of an obstacle. It was easier to fly down a hill without inhibitions and put ourselves in harms way. My brother and I, like many boys were always trying to push ourselves further. That bike jump isn't big enough, put a larger log underneath, that wasn't fast enough, push harder next time. Whether it was sledding behind the house on a rocky face or barreling down a Vermont dirt road on a sketchy bike, we cared little for the repercussions. We were seeking the thrill of adventure.
Thinking back to childhood in Vermont, its easy for me to remember those days, full of happiness, even though what we were doing may have been dangerous. I don't remember the first time I filed a tax return or went into my first job. But can easily remember how cold the wind was on my face the first time I plummeted down the top Douglas's hill on a sled. There are no brakes on a sled, and I had little more than a one piece snow suit on as protection. Northeastern winters are commonly associated with ice, which is not soft like the powder of the Rockies. To crash usually meant a face full of crusty snow, maybe a scrape or two. That chill of blood mixed with snow on your face was only a preface to a smile and a high-five from your buddies.
Childhood can't last forever and growing older only added more responsibility to our lives. Asked to not put ourselves in such dangerous situations, think about the others in your lives. When you realize how much an ambulance and E.R. visit cost it becomes very easy to logically sike yourself out of something. But what purpose does all that logic really serve? Keep us safe? Safe from what? We look back on our childhoods remembering the joy and laughter, feeling adrenaline. We scraped a knee or broke wrist, but the pain would subside, and the feeling of achievement from pushing yourself rarely faded. So, it seems the logic of adulthood only protects us from that childhood happiness, the rawness of adventure that is deep in our soul.
Every adult can't be a professional athlete that gets the joy of pushing themselves daily for a living. Those that get that opportunity we look up too, what a gift, and to see the effort they put into achieving that goal is truly inspirational. But it doesn't mean that the regular person needs to lock themselves away into the mediocrity of the real world. We may have full time jobs and tight budgets, but adventure is mostly free. A hike through the wilderness, although it may seem low key, can easily awaken the child like wonder in the world around you, and bring a smile. Traversing across a river and jumping from rock to rock, may be slippery and difficult to keep your footing on, but that consequence of falling focuses the mind. The cold spray from a nearby waterfall personifies the consequence, knowing that a bad footing could mean the grip of the icy water. The satisfaction of the crossing is immeasurable to most, and even with a fall, the fear is quickly squandered when the cold water washes over you and all your senses wake up. You feel more alive than you have felt in awhile.
This is why we still push ourselves. This is why we mountain bike, ski, snowboard, surf, and kayak as much as we can. We fill the free time we have with adventure and consequence and we know that we can still find that happiness in a bit of danger. We haven't changed the way we enjoy our lives only the reality of the situation. We all search for happiness and real unprovoked joy. Although our ages have changed, the elements that once gave us that liberation have not. While flying down a mountain, no matter the vehicle, the wind in our faces still gives us a sense of speed. It stills feels cold on our cheeks, and at our core it takes us back to childhood. This adventure gives us the power to transport ourselves mentally from one age to another. It's like a time machine with no box. We have found a way to experience the wonder of being a child again because we seek to continually push ourselves into the wild unknown of adventure.
-Cole Moyer (the younger Moyer, and designated crash test dummy for the Older Moyer)