by J Washburn
I started out with a craving. I'd tell people it was adventure I was after, even though I wasn't exactly sure what that meant. It took some searching before I really understood what my life was missing.
Three adventures ensued. Adventures of romance, inspiration, and illumination.
This essay takes you with me on my voyage. It's also a challenge - from me to you - to take a similar daring leap.
And see what happens.
Note: This essay is a short work and is about 40 pages when printed in book form.
IMAGINE A JENGA tower that’s 15-feet tall instead of 15-inches tall.
And you’re trying to climb it, hoping it doesn’t collapse.
This happened to me.
The tower was made of 100-pound hay bales. Each time I’d get my hands to the top, the highest bale threatened to roll off and take me and a few other bales with it. I didn’t like the idea of getting smashed in an alfalfa avalanche.
I made two attempts to climb the tower, and then my dad said, “Why don’t you go get the truck, and set up the ladder in the back?”
“Dad,” I replied, “climbing this thing is the whole reason I came down here.”
If you grab the string of a hay bale and pull yourself up from its side, the bale is eager to roll. But if you pull on its feet (imagine it’s a squarish chubby kid), he won’t roll at all. He might slide a little, but that’s it. The problem is, his feet were also where the string was tightest and so hardest to grab. Somehow I managed to reach around the side of the stack (to his feet) and wedge my fingers under the string. It left me without much footing, but at least I had something stable to hang on to. I pulled myself up, my feet dangled, then I got a knee, and I stood safely on t—
My arms shot to my sides—as the tower wobbled.
Not so safely.
I stepped toward the center, and the bale on the edge leaned out, along with the one underneath it, tilting away—about to fall.
I moved to the safety of the center. But then I turned, shoved with my foot, and the side of the tower collapsed, like a chunk had been sliced away, the bales crashing and tumbling as they hit the ground. I turned and shoved another. My platform was shrinking. I grinned:
The ground was falling out beneath me.
My tower was on the edge of a cul-de-sac which itself sat raised above the field to the south by about eight feet. My job was to toss the bales down the sloping side of the cul-de-sac so we could then re-stack the hay off the road down below. That’s why my dad had called me to help—so we could re-stack the tower. And I came willing to help, but I’d really come hoping at least for the shadow of an adventure.
I’m not usually a thrill seeker. But this was different.
And if the tower I had to climb was threatening to fall, so much the better.
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From the Author
I was born in Page, Arizona, practically on the Navajo Reservation, and raised in Idaho with my several siblings. I began writing stories when I was about three. I spent most of my childhood living the adventures described in my books. I earned a Bachelor of English from Brigham Young University-Idaho and a Master of English from Brigham Young University. Aspiring to be a renaissance man, I've worked as a lawn mower, a concrete pourer, a street preacher, a meta-physicist, a typographer, a graphic designer, a usability designer, a warrior poet, and even an English teacher. I also suffer from chronic somnia.