Last night we got a late call.The after 11pm call.The time of day when you instantly think: something's happened. Alice's dad was taken to hospital with a painful leg, possibly a blood clot,this morning.
Next morning I get a call from a Margaret Jones from Henderson, sister of Carl Sim, Foxton's Goldie art forger. She has seen my profile in Organic New Zealand magazine where I have recently been added as a contributing cartoonist. She thought she would phone me to tell me she used to live in Himatangi from where she biked to and from school in Foxton every day, a round trip of 40 km probably.And on a heavy one speed bike. "I don't know how I did it" she says, "I was such a skinny little thing" she says wistfully- "still am!". She tells me the story of one day, how she and a friend swam across the then Manawatu river while it was in flood.(It used to pass through the town) She adds, almost nonchalantly, that her friend had lost 4 of her 5 sisters by drowning. The town 'madmen' (who was mad?) received them on the other side, took them in and fed them and then returned them by dinghy, after a dam good scolding!
"I don't know what we were thinking" she reflects.
By contrast, let's witness the cutting down of trees in the nation's school playgrounds for safety reasons. I witnessed, at a school outdoor camp, a young person walking across a low suspended log, supported on either side by two other young people! We are seeing whole cultures of people waiting for life to happen.
You only die once.
This isn't a 'lesson'- its a celebration of life and the indomitable human spirit. Be afraid and do it because you will feel amazed, satisfied, terrified, confident, joyful, electrified.