Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are You "Romantical"?

I am having a grand time reading Mark Twain's "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn" to the girls. They are enjoying the book very much, as well. It is very difficult to pinpoint an exact thing that stands out as the favorite of the book, but, tonight I read the chapters that tell of how Huck and his buddy Tom Sawyer were going to "steal" Jim out of captivity from Tom's aunt and uncle. I won't go into all the detail here and trust that you have some knowledge of the book. If you don't, it is well worth the read.

Instead, I was impressed with the way the "escape" had to be performed. Huck kept it simple, wanting to use the things at hand like, shovels and a saw and picks etc.. Tom would have none of that, saying that it wasn't the way it was done in all the books he'd read. True hero's toil for thirty seven years to break free. They dig out with spoons and such. They climb down with a rope ladder. Kin folk smuggle in things baked in a pie to aid the escape. In other words, Huck's simple ways were not "romantical" enough. Tom insisted that, although it wouldn't take thirty seven years, that they could "let on" that it took thirty seven years. Huck thought that was ridiculous, Jim would be out-thirty seven years or not, wouldn't he? In the end, Tom won out, and they "let on" that it was going to take thirty seven years to dig old Jim out. This took me back a bit and got me to thinking. There were many times, and still are, to some degree, that I was struck with the "romantical" things.

Like the times, as a young adult in Wisconsin, that I would be out walking my dog (a blue-eyed Siberian Husky) in a driving snow storm. The wind chill would be -30 and you couldn't see through the snow, it was coming so hard. My mind would transport to a time or place and I would be fighting the elements to rescue a sick child. Panting and suffering for the cause of a loved one. Or, lost on the great tundra of Siberia running from the KGB, hot on my trail. Using my wits and digging deep to find the strength to survive. Just man, his dog and the elements.

Or when I'm out busting my tail to load the hay in the barn before a big rain. My mind gets taken away to a place on the prairie, as a homesteader. Working hard by the blood, sweat and tears to make a way for us in this lonely, desolate place. Struggle is the norm, day to day. I take my western hat off, wipe the sweat from my brow and feel like a tough cowboy on the range. I am tired and sore, but it is all in the interest of carving out a place for me and my family. The I head back to the cabin and step back into reality.

I also thought of the many times, back in my cycling days, that I would get carried to the back roads of Europe. I would be twenty miles from home, or better, pumping and hammering out a 20 mph average, in a driving head wind. I would come to a large hill and lift out of the saddle to hammer up the beast. Then, I would be in France. The last stage of Le Tour de France and I was the lone cyclist of a great break-away. The peleton would be a quarter of a mile back and gaining rapidly. I would hear the voices of the announcers talking about my form and fatigue and the strength and courage to keep going, at all costs. The finish line would be a couple of miles away, I had to hold them off for a while longer. The pain would be evident on my face as I poured every last shred of energy and strength I had left toward the goal. The goal of winning the Tour! Then, I would crest the hill and sink back into my saddle and reality. The bonus to this scenario is that it paid off in training. I really did race competitively and this imaginary time would force me to get better and faster. I miss those days greatly.

There have been many times as I was out working the farm that my mind would romanticize the events of the day into something from the past. I guess I have read too many stories and seen too many movies. But, I always come in satisfied and tired. I always feel good, the kind of feeling that come from a long, hard workout. Tired but pleased.

I guess what I am saying is, that, perhaps, there is a bit of Tom Sawyer in all of us gents. A bit of the "romantical" that sweeps a regular guy into the arms of history. Maybe, it is healthy to think of things in a way that spurrs us to be better. That's what it does for me, anyway.

1 comment:

Marci said...

It's not just the gents. I do that a lot. I know many people who whine and fuss and just "I can't do that". I encourage them in pretending they were back in this time, or what if you were a prisoner and they made you do it, or what if... :) I am glad I am not the only one!!!