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Monday, August 17, 2009

Meditations (and High-Dives) from Vermont

So...my mom rents a house in Vermont every summer. Nearby, there is a particular spot in the woods where a little makeshift beach has sprung up at the edge of an absolutely frigid river. Seriously. Like, freezing.

But if you manage to coax your protesting muscles and quivering, goose-pimpled skin into the aforementioned river, and swim across to the opposite side, where a craggy series of rock extends upwards all along the bank, you can--by scampering, swinging, heaving, and cursing--climb up to a small lip of rock that extends invitingly--or, okay, terrifyingly--over the water. Someone has attached a rope swing to a tree branch up there, and all summer long kids (and adults!) swing out of the woods and into the river. You can, alternatively, just take a running leap from the rock lip into the water (fifteen-? twenty-? feet) below.

A few years ago I'd made a New Year's resolution to Be Less Lame. This rather generalized and poorly articulated goal meant, to me, that I would do things that frightened me; that I would take advantage of any and all opportunities presented to me; that I would travel more and stress less and eat full-fat ice cream and cheeseburgers when I felt like it and get really sweaty when I danced in nightclubs and always listen when someone was speaking to me--like, actually listen, not just sit there thinking about what I was going to say next. In short, it meant that I would try as much as possible to recognize that life is full of myriad things--some of them strange, some of them scary, some of them painful, all of them miraculous--and that they should all be experienced, devoured, luxuriated in.

So yeah. Be Less Lame. That's my motto.

Point is, I was REALLY scared to jump the first year. Trust me, it's freaky once you get up there. But I did, and now I make it a kind of annual pilgrimage, an opportunity to take stock and reaffirm my promise to myself. It's my mid-year, late-summer resolution, a chance to say: "Hey, Life. You're vast and weird and you've got a lot of strange, twisty tricks up your sleeves...But I've got grit, so you can go ahead and bring it on."

This is me jumping this year:
So...yeah. It's a little early, but...Holla back at me, 2010. Let's make it a good year.


~The Book Pixie said...

Oh yeah, jumping 20ft into a freezing river has always been one of my favorite things to do. :P Seriously though, it looks fun and sounds like a bit of a thrill rush. I'm glad you took the jump. Some risks are worth taking. Love the pic, btw. Also LOVE what you told 'life'. lol.

I heard about your blog over at Steph Su. I'm following you now and am looking forward to your new book, Before I Fall. It sounds wonderful and I hope to be lucky enough to be able to read and review it.


Lauren Oliver said...

Hey Briana--

Steph Su is amazing and I'm so thrilled you are following my blog now...I can't wait for you to read BEFORE I FALL, too! Ergh, if it were up to me I'd be sending galleys out NOW...although since I literally have only one copy (now coffee-stained and dog-eared), that probably is not very feasible. :)
Thank you so much for your kind words and for following.
Yay freezing rivers and big jumps!

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