Somewhere north of Mountain View, Arkansas, high above the beautiful White River overlooking the hamlet of Calico Rock, stands a bluff.
From there you can see for miles in all directions. It's a place I used to frequent back in my younger days, climbing around on the rocks and daring gravity to take me captive. And it was a long drop from that promontory to the wooded banks of the river below.
Back then, as is the case with most of the young folks I know, I thought I was invincible. I thought I could play all day on that rocky outcropping and never have to pay for my daring and carelessness. Turns out I wasn't invincible at all ... just very lucky. I always walked away from that place -- feeling more than a little triumphant, I might add.
Some days, when the wind was calm and the sky a brilliant royal blue, it was fun to just lay there, secluded, and watch the day slide lazily by. At other times, the bluff offered the perfect vantage point from which to watch storms race across the hills and valleys. From time to time, you might catch a glimpse of folks in canoes or john boats gliding down the ribbon of water below in search of trout, or fun, or just plain relaxation. From that lookout high above the liquid byway, the water craft appeared to be about the size of a pencil eraser and their contents mere suggestions of movement.
There were days when I would sit on that flat rock and imagine what would become of my life; or sit with friends and write songs or poems of mountains and valleys and friendships and love; or wish that I were somewhere a thousand miles away; or share quiet moments there with the Creator.
Life sometimes reminds me of that bluff deep in the heart of the Arkansas hills.
Seems we're always standing on a precipice, daring to take the full risk of walking too close to the edge, or basking in the warmth of an especially sunny day -- oblivious to the storm clouds gathering on the far horizon.
Too many times, once we see those clouds, we race away in fear, never to experience the spray in our face or the exhilaration born of overcoming the wind.
We invite others to come enjoy the view, only to back away from the edge because we don't trust our instincts - or our friends - or because we've been taught to fear the fall. Sometimes, we're just plain scared to leave the beaten path; afraid of what lies in the uncharted territory beyond the pavement of our existence.
I know I'm not really that old, but sometimes I miss those glorious days when we were all so young and energetic -- and seekers of thrills in the territory beyond.