Posted by: Maria | May 17, 2012

Cultivating a Spirit of Adventure

Caveat Lector: This post has (almost) nothing to do with boats.

We had an adventure today exploring the woods behind our house. It was a pint-sized adventure, since there were many pint-sized people. But oh to hear the stories that came back with the kids, you would have thought we went to farthest Mongolia and back. We went wandering through a glade of phlox. Finding and climbing large rocks. Picking fallen tulip flowers from a tulip tree. Searching under May apples for fruit. Getting stuck in a trap of fallen branches. Fording a tiny, trickling, giant, raging creek and falling in because a particular boy had no flint ax with which to stabilize a fallen tree-turned-bridge. Climbing a spreading tree. Finding a butterfly and lily pads on a pond. Squirming under a wooden fence back towards civilization. (At least, the kids squirmed; I went twenty yards further to a gap and went around.) In short, the afternoon was a slice of heaven.

It sounds like small potatoes in print, but as the adventure progressed I could see a bit more determination in Patrick’s eyes to go to the next branch, the next hill, or “Further up and Further In,” as C.S. Lewis put it. Granted, this new determination is tempered by a native caution. “It would be fun, but it might be dangerous,” was a regular refrain. Now, the words are, “Next time, I’ll remember how I fell in and stabilize my bridge with rope. And a flint ax.” Attaboy. Caution and Adventure combined!

It wasn’t just Patrick who came back with new-found enthusiasm. Elaina stayed right at my heels until she was tempted to pick “just one flower,” and came back with her pockets stuffed with treasures: buttercups and bluebells and beech leaves and yes, a purple phlox. She explored the flowers all by herself and they grew as tall as she was. Gabriel saw the stream and wanted to turn around and go home right there. But even he detatched from my knees to go exploring once we passed that obstacle. And Blaise even came back with something new– a scratch over his eye where a branch thwapped him. Oops. Sometimes adventures hurt.

We’ll have to do this more often. Life is too short to spend it holed up in a safe and sanitized virtual world, either on the computer or in a book, when the real world is there to savor. Maybe that’s why we have a boat.



  1. don’t ever stop going on adventures wayne…they will remember them for ever. My dad took me on many!


  2. Steve:

    Actually, blame Maria for this one. I am more involved with the boating adventures. Regardless, we intend to keep up adventures.


  3. What an awesome experience. I spent quite a while living in the woods in North Carolina and was struck by the sheer beauty of God’s great creation.
    Your children are very blessed to have parents who give them such wonderful memories.

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