I Am Alive!

For some of us, the pursuit for that perfectly pure feeling at that perfect moment is the great adventure in all of us. So great that we are willing to ignore our greatest fears and endure our greatest trials to achieve it. Especially for those of us who have felt this before – the pinnacle of that perfect moment.

Some of us have experienced that moment. I admire them. They know what they had to sacrifice. They remember all too well the pain along the way. But yet they still move forward despite all of the obstacles in the way.

Some of us have never experienced that moment. I admire them too. For them the great unknown is just that, and doubt is their greatest adversary. Is all of this worth it? So much pain? So many obstacles? And there is still more to endure. I admire those to do move forward, despite the greatest of odds.

I think of my friend Tad. He and his band is performing at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. He plays guitar as he looks out into the sea of faces, some of them familiar and friendly, others newcomers to his music. I’m sure there was a moment when he was smiling inside. “We are playing at The Troubadour! I am alive!”

I think of my friend Ceyda. She is skiing down the mountain in Vail down the Blue Sky Basin Overlook. It’s been some time since she last skied. For a moment, it was just her and blue skies and bright white snow. And she screamed in pure joy. “I am skiing again! I am alive!”

I think of my friend Derek. A distant memory of being hit by a car, he sits on the beach in Thailand, arms outstretched with “Go Live” written on the sand behind him. “I am alive!”

And suddenly I wake up. It’s 7:28 AM 22 December 2008. It’s zero degrees outside as I wake up in the middle of the busy North/Milwaukee/Damen intersection in Chicago. I have just been hit by a car. “I am alive!”

I think of jumping off that boat in the Gulf of Thailand off the beach in Koh Samed, with the parachute attached and now over fifty feet up in the air. I think of jumping off the tiny platform off the Hudson in New York City, when the instructor yells “hup!” and I am flying through the air on a trapeze. I think of attacking class 5+ rapids at Yosemite white river rafting. I think of standing in the middle of Arches National looking down then out over the entire park from high atop a gigantic rock. I think of jumping off an airplane 15,000 feet up in the air about ninety miles from Las Vegas in what was the most exhilarating feeling I have ever felt. At every one of those moments, I thought to myself “I am alive!”

Since coming back from Thailand, I have been painting quite a bit. In fact, besides hanging with my dog and writing, it’s all that I’ve done, mostly watercolours. Being alone with my dog and my paints, loving every moment of it.

My friend Ceyda posted a picture of herself skiing down that mountain in Colorado, which is what made me think about all of this… The search for that perfect moment when you know you are truly alive and so very happy that you wish you could bottle the feeling. Cos someday, you’ll need that pick me up. Something even better than and more powerful than Phillz Coffee.

That’s what inspired me to paint these paintings.

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live

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