Over the Edge of the World –
Over the Edge of the World is the title of a magnificent book about Magellan discovering the straits which bear his name. I believe this is also where the explorers of the world find their place and their peace, at the literal edge of human existence. There is a line that marks the edge of the survival zone of our species, explorers thrive on the far side of that line. There is something out there for us over the edge and its manifestation is different for each one of us. I refer to both a physical and mental place. But in the physical realm for me, there are four incomparable and inhospitable places on earth that represent “over the edge”, the lowest and highest and coldest and driest. This means truly disconnecting with “man’s world” and fully embracing and connecting to the natural world and its rhythms. It is immensely powerful and a strange dichotomy, balancing on that line, more alive than ever yet so near to possible death.
The Ocean Depths
If you’ve never experienced the depths of the ocean carrying your life support on your back, you have missed the world’s ultimate realm. At depths below 100, 150 and 200 feet I have stepped into a world beyond. I feel alone and insignificant, yet strangely connected and serene. It is magnificently quiet yet thriving with energy and life. I feel the pulse of the earth, the breath of the sea and am pulled towards it like a child to the womb. The line between life and death for a human here is thin and fragile, connected only by a small amount of portable and limited air. To me, it is the ultimate place and peace on this planet.
The rarified air holds a similar, magical, and spiritual place in my heart. To sit above the clouds swaddled in the arms of the world’s greatest mountains is humbling. At 20,000 feet I am fast approaching the limits of a human’s ability to survive. Yet it calls. Why? Climbing higher and higher we step into the realm of certain death. We dance on that line and revel in the freedom from human constraints. The explorer inside me wants to know and see and understand more…to unlock the mysteries of the unknown and test my abilities to the very limit. And to understand myself and my place within it.
You need to only brush the closest tentacles of the bottom of the world to feel the power of this place. My arrival here signaled my release from planet Earth into truly another world. As harsh and as unforgiving as the highest tip of the great mountains, the bottom of the world can easily rob you not only of life but will capture your heart and soul. It pulls me to it with a gravitational force unequaled. Antarctica is a captivating siren who lures with equal and relentless parts beauty and danger. A force to be reckoned with only on her terms.
The Heart of Africa
I have not endeavored into the great deserts and plains of Africa. When I do I know I will be lost forever, that Africa’s sand and it’s inhabitants will captivate me to want nothing more from this world than to be forever a part of it. To be at this edge of human existence along the great migratory routes is truly to dream of Heaven. To exist side by side the charismatic megafauna of this earth at the mercy of nature’s whim is to attack life fully awake.
The explorer within never rests, continually seeking an edge to leap over to feel alive and to discover the world around and within.
Where is the magic for you? How will you explore?
To Your Adventures!