Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Big Question

I have a friend who learned something new about grizzly bears, or the brown bear, as it is often called. He recently traveled to Alaska and did some hiking. He was told to protect himself from brown bears by wearing tiny bells on his clothing. He said the bells warn away MOST bears. He was also cautioned to observe the ground on the trail, paying particular attention to bear droppings. If fresh bear scat should be spotted, he was warned to stay alert to the presence of grizzlies. With a twinkle in his eye he added, “You can tell when the droppings come from grizzly bears because of the tiny bells in them.”

I suppose if he worried too much about bears, he might miss out on some of the fun of hiking. Best not to become overly-concerned about everything that could possibly go wrong, like spooking a grizzly bear. After all, even in the best hikes, one has to take a few risks. But seasoned hikers know that the payoff is usually worth it. 

Author and environmentalist Edward Abbey was speaking about hiking as well as life when he said, “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” To arrive at someplace amazing, the trek may be difficult and we must be prepared to accept some risks along the way. Especially if we’re following our heart into unknown territory or attempting something bigger than we’ve ever tried before. Of course, we can always choose an easier path, one that is more comfortable and safer, but we may not like where we end up nearly as much. 

Like Joseph Campbell said when speaking of following your bliss through life: “The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” 

That IS the big question, isn’t it? Will we say a hearty yes to our adventure? To a full, rich and well-lived life? One thing I know: the path may be tricky and even treacherous at times, but it will be worth it.

--Steve Goodier


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