Adventure #2: Man v. Disappointment


Some days just seem destined not to work out the way you planned. This is ok, the universe can be a little random sometimes and rarely does the word “plan” give a solid defense of its own definition. I’m starting to learn the first rule to being happy: learn to roll with the punches.

As I said in my sidenote earlier today, the initial expedition had to be cancelled due to a powerful dose of the human element. I have to stand by my decision to NOT go traipsing off into the mountainous wilderness all by myself without so much as a pellet gun to have my back. Getting trapped or injured at the bottom of a cliff, or running into a “Deliverance” character doppelganger when I’m by myself are not among my ideas of a good adventure (though I’m sure both experiences would have a profound impact on ones psyche).

So I set to finding an alternative undertaking. The day is sunny and tranquil, perfect for getting outdoors, so there is my primary focus; find something outside. I make a quick scan of the trusty interweb to see what there is to see out there. After consulting and offering my sacrifices to the Google God, he eventually ushers me into the Port of Everett website and the phrase “Jetty Island” immediately leaps out at me from the page.

The Island of Jetty

Jetty Island, how could I have forgotten you? You wonderful little strip of sediment, you tide-pool riddled two-mile beauty! Warm memories of toes in the sand, playing with little crabs, looking or starfish and exploring secret trails run a slow parade in my mind’s eye. My adventure has been found and it shall be glorious!

I scan the entire Jetty Island info page. Free parking Monday through Thursday? Sweet, let’s do this.

I grab my shades, a water bottle, and some sandals; I blow the popsicle stand and take off in the trusty 4-cylinder. The spirits are high, the gas tank is mid, the Fleetwood Mac is on full blast; oh yes, you make lovin’ fun.

I spin my way down West Marine View Drive, windows down and admiring the scenic waterfront; waterside restaurants, lush green parks, ships gliding in and out of port in the orderly fashion of an ant farm.

Spotting the sign for the public boat launch, I hang that left and wind my way through the nearly nonsensical series of white and yellow lines designed to guide vehicles through the parking lot without causing a slow motion pileup. To my good luck (or so it seems), the parking lot seems mostly barren today so I cruise on up to the front row and shut down the engine.

Looking around I can’t seem to spot the actual ferry to the island; no matter, I’m not close enough to the water to see it if it’s docked anyway… the place is curiously dead though. I gaze out across the water at the island; it too seems to be curiously dead. I then wander for a moment until I find the kiosk that normally gives ferry passes. If a waterfront area could resemble a graveyard, this would be it as even the kiosk is most certainly dead.

How could it be that on a bright, sunny, mid-70s day, Jetty Island is completely shut down?

I finally spot the small posting on the water side of the little unmanned ferry station in front of me: Jetty Island is CLOSED until July 1st.

Well shit.

That sort of information would be useful on internet as well as at the boat launch I would think.

Yet another possibility laid to rest by strange chance (I call it this because in years past, Jetty Island usually opens up much sooner than this).

I can feel a small spring of annoyance welling up inside me, the usual precursor to me verbally damning fate and whatever other faceless, nameless source I can use as a scapegoat for my current plight.

Immediately I grow defiant. The day is beautiful. I feel great. The salty sea air is invigorating and I can do no less than feel at peace when this close to the ocean.

I decide that some adventures happen on a smaller scale and when the best plans get laid to waste, the real adventure is internal. It’s at this point that we have a choice: to admit defeat, allow anger to be our master and spend precious time hating our shitty luck. Or the other side of that decision, to let go of the disappointment and find the wonder in our immediate surroundings. I have to admit that making the first choice just sometimes seems easier; I’ve walked that path my fair share of times. If you’re going to have an adventure everyday though, you have to anticipate that things won’t always go the way you think they will. If you’re going to have an adventure everyday, you have to learn to not only be content with but excited by the world around you, whether it’s what you had planned for or not.

Instead of dwelling on what did not work out, I breathe in deep the ocean air and take a walk down through the waterfront. I meander through the grass and the trees, the sand and the rocks, the docks and the boats. I read about historic areas of the port, smile at few other explorers I pass near the docks and hang out with the big bronze fisherman who’s permanently stationed at the port until the ocean takes it all back.

I sit in the shade of a tree and relax; I meditate away those little bits of annoyance within me until they dissipate into the atmosphere, too small and inconsequential to be of any harm to anyone.

Sometimes the adventure is a non-adventure. Sometimes learning to enjoy the moment is a great undertaking in and of itself.


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