Monday, January 1, 2018

Sometimes it's not the destination, but the journey

If you love/enjoy what you do,  someone, somewhere, will invariably comment, "I admire your enthusiasm, but I'll never understand what you see in...(insert appropriate enthusiasm/madness)"

For some, it's hiking. Not just the easy lopey striding stroll in the woods, nope, it's UP the mountain and DOWN the damn mountain, and invariably there's a place "I've always wanted to see" and getting there involves crampons and ropes...

For others, the lure of bicycling;  we have friends who  live on a reasonably distant and reasonably steep bit of land (not unlike ours) and once or twice  a year they like to drop in.  It's "only" 20 miles, and half of that each way is uphill.

We won't even go into the Mt. Everest folks.

Or the people who have followed the Appalachian Trail from Mt. Katahdin in Maine, to Georgia.  In one year.  2200 miles.

Farming.   It's utterly dependent on weather, insects, blights, and What To Do When the Cows Get into the Pole Beans...

For a few thick skinned people, it's the Polar Bear Club. Ambulances at the ready, they strip down, wave at the cameras, and plunge, howling, into the frigid January waters of coastal New England. The only thing that prevents ice from forming on the ocean here is the heavy surf and the high salt content. That, and people crashing into it in mid-January.

I was considering our own form of madness this morning at 3 AM, while I was goosing three stubborn woodstoves into  giving out more heat;  at -15 F outside, and it looks to be that for the next six years (oh where is global warming when you need it),  and a foot or more of frozen snow outside--and we have been doing this for 40+ years.  Add to that the ridiculous amount of work to get from tree to stove, one stick at a time.  All of it, because of a reward.  For us, it's being able to live here year round without depending on an oil truck and an oil burner (and the electricity) to make it all go.  And being reasonably self-sufficient, heat wise, to do that.  Quite frankly, you just do not get the intense satisfaction of cozying up to  baseboard heating on a chilly day.  It's just there.

And  beyond that, I suspect the same hidden drive that propels people onto rope bridges dangling over steep ravines, or bike tours from one side of the country to the other; or even stamp collectors, intent on collecting all the stamps issued for Bosnia Herzegovina.  Because we want to, because we can, because it gives us an incredible amount of personal satisfaction--not in the end game, necessarily, but in the trip to get there.


  1. For me, it was mathematics.

    I was fortunate enough to find a job where I was paid for doing what I loved to do.

    It doesn't get better than that.

    1. For sure. Not everyone is that lucky.
      My husband was a mechanical engineer, and he has managed to utilize that math talent for almost everything he does in retirement, from carpentry to roof joists to calculating gravel and machinery.

      I've always envied math people; they have options many of us lack, and the closest I can come to it is to be married to one.

  2. When you're Don Quixote, everything's a windmill.

    1. Lol, good point. I guess it's a matter of focus, and finding where our passions will take us (or at the very least letting them lead). Sometimes one avocation will lead to another, or as in Neil's case to a lifelong trip.