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Gratitude for Crazy Adventurers

(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

Infectious Heroism and Rewarding Wanderlust

Brave New World, a sketch of a person becoming alive and emerging not just past their paper, but beyond their own world into a new galaxy which awaits. Art by Miko at The Gratitude Gallery Blog.

Crazy Adventurers are the people who gave me my first lessons on how to fix cars, how to look intently at an engine and apply rationale and ingenuity, people who offered me a moment in their shade to pull my car alongside, giving me lessons about how to identify tools and organize for a little bit of rewarding work ahead. Helping me know the engine in my first Volvo, my 1967 PV544, understand how the water flowed through, helping me along the road on my own road trips, a little more confident that I could keep my vehicle running if i was by myself. This gratitude radiates with every rotation of every wheel in my lifetime now.

These Crazy Adventurers travelled their own journeys in old Toyota trucks, old Kawasaki motorcycles, old vintage Volvos, or maybe they came in from hitchhiking or off a Greyhound bus. Sometimes we've met stopping to relax from their own expeditions sightseeing the country and the world, meeting while I worked on my motorcycle at the same watering hole they've brought their RV or motorhome to fill up.

But they've all brough bits of mechanical know-how along with them between playing jazz guitar, or moving their families, or following their favorite band, moving for the girl of their dreams, or packing up their studios and heading out West or East or somewhere entirely different. 

Some were always moving, living in their mobile homes and totally living off their know-how and wits, but in exchange, seeing the country from a perspective and a vantage totally inspirational. Whatever they were doing, they were the first real heros of mine, the first people I saw travellign past the confines of their cities, their upbringing, and moving outward into a new world, bravely.

Canyonlands National Parks Utah Horseshoe Moab Campsite 4 Trails

Crazy Adventurers are the ones that took a little of their life, gave it to me, and showed me how to pack for a road trip and lose myself in a Canyon for weeks on end, giving along with their time, their knowledge of the Earth and her creatures and formations, her history and her wonders that went unseen while I busily galavanted inside an urban dream.

Experiencing the Canyonlands and the Colorado Plateau is something that wasn't part of my childhood, and probably never would have come my way. The very first day of it changed my life, feeling the city atmosphere break away like an alien skin, so that I could breathe again. Just preparing for the journey at a campsite is an adventure in its own, since the gales and water is most fierce on the top of the rims, and there's no way to know how the winds will treat the campsite while trying to rest and prepare for the journey waiting below.

This little bit of sharing their experience gives me every day a new filter through which to see this luscious United States of America geography, its rolling plains ebbing slowly into valley ranges, and sometimes starkly spiking upward into mountain ranges. Yet underneath all the clothing of shrubbery and trees and rivers, there are histories of the Earth herself, her own diary written in eon chapters and nights and days of her secret elevation, now there for me to wonder amidst on any of her long and marvelous highways.

Kokopelli the diety god of music and fertility putting flute down for a second to sip some coffee. Charcoal painting called CoffeePelli. Art By Miko at The Gratitude Gallery Blog

Gratitude for the adventures who crazily left their suburban family surroundings and travelled to other places, far away to pursue their own individual desire of education and life and love. Exploring past the boundaries of what they were raised within to see other cultures and other city’s ways of life. Wandering about in strange new landscapes the people and the arts and music and dance that expanded their world view, all while bringing with them their own sense of values and offerings. Showing me that art is not just made of stereotypical accouterments of messy oil paints and frames strewn about in some way that appears to match a museum picture book, but rather a way to connect to the world through art’s intrinsic emotional expression and empathy. Showing me that my art and all artwork that’s passionately made holds this thing in common that’s felt immediately by how it connects the inner emotional experience of its maker to someone from outside its maker’s world. How it resonates with another person’s triumphs in school, in relationships, in family, with their animals, with their physical pains and aspirations, setbacks and successes.

Crazy Adventurers are the ones who showed me what it’s like from the other side of a date night, when a woman is thrown into single-motherhood and shows me what it looks like to care for a baby, the hours upon hours of nurture and care that cannot be paid back, ever. Welcomed me into kitchens and living rooms and shared with me stories of leaving home and bewilderment and constant searching and ups and downs. Talking over tea and laughter and sometimes tears, what they’ve hoped for chasing the next adventure in Love and Romance. Mothers who showed me that what we think when first meeting pales in comparison to the minutes threaded into hours into days of a tapestry of worry and heartache and hope and dream.

It was the Crazy Adventurers who, along their life-journey stepping in from traveling Europe to make and sell their spontaneous oil paintings on the side of streets to passing tourists and villagers alike, who took their time to invite me over for studio visits and show me how to play with oil paint rather than just work with it. Taking time to teach me how to work with canvas if I so choose, how to treat it as any fabric like a tailor, gently sizing and stretching and stapling it, coating it and preparing for the opening strokes of color and hypnotic texture.

Wild adventurers who crazily befriended me and trusted me with the intimacies of what it’s like transitioning their gender, walking alongside me while we’re both yelled pejoratives while shopping at a guitar store, sharing their humanity in some spectacular banal moment of just two humans trying to replace some busted strings. These Crazy Adventurers taking my perception deeper past metaphor into considerations of my very body, my very skin, my self perception and teaching me that I own the keys to body image and can free myself from its issues anytime I want by reaching outward to friends and reaping the rewards of accepting others unconditionally.

I have gratitude for the Crazy Adventurers who chased light. Einstein and his wild orthodox-upending approaches to the way light ought to behave, unearthing unclothing and unleashing seemingly irrational answers which exploded the minds and breadths of civilizations yet to come, rippling out long after his earth-existence, literally into waves of gravity of space itself. A sunrise of science and exploration that I, as a modern artist, get to bask in the pictures and adventures of a whole new era of astrophysicists and discoveries. My art shares this gratitude, for the images and the Jungian symbology that reaps in bountiful plenty as many associations as my ache for human poetry hungers for, being instantly satiated with a quizzical search for Hubble images on any studio night.

Gratitude for Richard Feynman who speaks as lividly now through his eerily candid videos generations before YouTube, gratitude for his whimsical tenacious grip on the tug-a-war rope he helped tip past the barriers of the Atomic Titan guarding her precious nuclei. For his wild crazy adventures into South American countries playing bongos and painting beautiful women, making friends along the way in every walk of life, giving me a ray of truth that humans are made to know everything and experience inspiration everywhere, that I’m not a robot made to make one picture in one style in one place and neither is anybody else.

Crazy Adventurers continue to give and give, calling me to do the same. Without judgement and without shame or comparison, but rather realizing that our own life was born itself as its own unique and wild and wonderful crazy adventure. Gratitude waiting to pass on the joy like magic through the ephemeral wire connecting us all, Crazy Adventurers each and every one of us.

Canyonlands National Parks Utah / Moab Double Rainbow at our campsite. Photo by Miko at The Gratitude Gallery Blog

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