Is it the canoe or the thrill of paddles dipping in still waters on a late summer’s eve that plays on your heartstrings?

Intuitively the answer would be the paddles dipping in still waters.  The image lingers on as if I had just experienced it yesterday, as if an artist had taken a brush and forever etched the memory into my subconscious mind, to be recalled at will upon my pleasure.  It was magical.  Just the two of us in one canoe on a lake hidden away in the Rockies.   The sun warmed the treetops for just a few  minutes before dropping out of sight, the sudden darkening of the skies and the feeling of the forest closing in, shivers up my spine as  from the distance came the distinctive came call of the loon thus breaking the silence of the approaching darkness.

I love it. This experience.  It is both magical and mystical.

That boy Carlos is at it again.  On this week’s Sunday Shorts he talks about living a life of collecting experiences not things and threw out a challenge to his readers to write about some of their experiences and the feelings that go with those experiences.  I decided to step up to the challenge and scribble a post here on Blog Income.

I didn’t have to think long to recall that moment and the thrill of experiencing it.

The older you get the more such experiences you have – I have a vault of them.

The first time I was awarded a medal for scholastic achievement.  The mother superior pinning the medal on my uniform.  The pride in my parent’s eyes that evening.  The photo for posterity.

Going horseback riding in the mountains over loose gravel trails with hundred foot drop-offs praying like I’ve never prayed before asking for the horse to be more sure footed than its stumbles then looking back to see how my friend was faring and seeing her face with eyes tightly shut! Another horse ride, this time galloping on the sands of an open beach.   Same animal, different experience.

The birth of each of my children – the boy so beautiful, the girl so lusty of voice.  Tears of joy and sometimes sorrow in sharing their own growing up experiences,  now that is an experience in progress

Freezing and knowing what it is to feel the blood run cold as I gingerly  stepped from one set of straight up stairs to another – no platform to aid the manoeuvre –  and inadvertently looked down to the waters hundreds of feet below the Sydney Harbor Bridge.  The momentary hardening of my grip on the handrail and the slight delay before steeling my nerves and continuing the climb to the top of the bridge.

Australia again.  A flock of emus, about twenty of them grazing in a meadow just feet away from the road suddenly taking flight as we emerged from the car.  The sight was majestic.  These seemingly ungainly birds pranced away with such grace, their feathers flouncing like that of a ballerina’s costume,; indeed it was a dance choreographed in the wilds by mother nature herself.

Scores of others.  Captaining the basketball team to a championship trophy, watching a black bear cross a patch of clearing just feet away from where we were seated on a mountain ledge, seeing the Folies Bergere in Vegas and the girls perform at the Lido Caberet in Paris – now that’s enough to make any girl feel envious!

But back to the canoe.  That is a thing.  But for as long as I had it, I loved it.  And there are other things that I will never part with, the handmade Christmas decorations that my children made in grade school, photos, a small wood Ainu carving of a bear that my best friend gave me, a pearl necklace from my parents and lots of other “things.”  And I’ve always wanted a Mercedes SL550 (used to be SL 500) which I have yet to get, but when I do, it too will give me pleasure.

So it really does depend.  Precious things can be as pleasurable as experiences.  But the exercise really got me thinking.  The things that are precious to us are those that are associated with pleasant experiences.  Experiences often cost money.  I recently read that as boomeers are approaching retirement the things that they look for are experiences, travel is not so much a week or two on the beach but more likely visiting places that are off the beaten track, such as visiting the Antartic, booking the Tsar’s  New Year’s Eve Ball in St. Petersburg, Russia; cycling tours, hiking in the Patagonias, and so on.  Still others are going back to school – doing their masters or PHDs, or taking up painting.  Some take up blogging for money!

The thing is that no matter what your age,  live life to its fullest.  Each day cannot be an adventure but it can be a life lived well.

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