Don’t fool around with Mother Nature, she plays for keeps.
Mom, as I like to call her, is all-powerful. Gentle as a baby almost all the time, she packs a wallop on the rare occasion. And she never, ever, forgets her laws. Those laws define the edges of where we can play, and where we can die.
As adventurous humans, we push the edge, always looking for the next extreme, wondering how much further we can push it back.
In only the last few years we’ve seen a man jump from a record height of 39 kilometers, breaking the speed of sound as he fell. He landed on his feet, by the way. This sort of thing is only done once every so many decades. The man who did it first was back in the 1960s.
We’ve seen the development of wing suits, where perfectly intelligent people throw themselves off sheer cliffs and glide past trees and rocks at breakneck speeds for a thrill that lasts only a few minutes. They do this stunt more often than I’d like to admit.
Finally, we even see people climbing sheer cliffs using only their hands. Free-climbing is something that climbers do all too frequently. They may use aids to help prevent accidents, but getting up the rock is all about them. By the way, this is aviation related in that they are gaining altitude!
What is it about us that wants to test ourselves against Mom?
For one, it pushes us against absolute limits. Two, it sets us apart from our fellow adventurers. It allows the survivor to say, I’m the best! Three, it’s a physical and mental challenge requiring inspiration, focus, and perspiration. Four, it provides us with a mision in life that gives us a persona, a defining character for our friends. Five, it acts as a beacon for others to watch, or assist us in attaining this ideal. Sixth, there is a greater emotional state to be found than that moment in which you confront your greatest fear, alone. You know Mom doesn’t play favorites. But she plays using open rules. Where we push the edge, we can only guess what those rules are, and we dare to guess.
Only then do we dare to fly in the face of Mom. If we guess wrong, it doesn’t end well.
And that’s an adventure.