There's Adventure Out There (a Freewrite)

in #freewrite3 years ago (edited)


“Hurry up, my boy!” Cried the good doctor, as he scurried up the hillside. Though twice his assistant’s size and carrying his own satchel, the doctor was also somehow twice as fast. Seemingly immune to the various rocks and spiky bushes, he trekked forward with the youthful energy of a child.

The young man plodded along behind him, out of breath and laden with heavy gear. Only two days out of civilization and Jonathan already wondered what he’d gotten himself into. His boots sank into the sandy incline, and the pre-dawn light made maneuvering the many trip hazards difficult. Jonathan looked up to see the doctor had already reached the top. With the hope of a much needed rest, he dug deep and managed to join him.

At the crest was a natural rock platform of sorts, but that’s not what caught their attention. Before them was a gorge of unseen beauty, that echoed the crashing of the waterfalls on the other side. The perpetual flow slipped from rivers that led from the rainforest, a dense canopy of faded green. In the distance rested a savanna, a vastness of straw-colored fields that preluded sloping blue mountains. The whole sky was awash with orange and purple from the rising sun.

Jonathan struggled to pick his jaw up. He quickly dropped the gear and rummaged through his pack. Pulling out a small wooden box and a sketchbook, he sat down and began to capture the scene. He knew his paints couldn’t live up to the sparkling mists of the falls or the brilliance of the sunrise, but he would try.

The doctor let out a victorious chuckle, reveling in all that was around him. A couple vibrant birds cawed as they flew over, which he interpreted as a resounding welcome. He side-eyed Jonathan’s progress now and then, delighted to know that others would eventually get to see fragments of their expedition. Not every achievement would come so easily, or be so possible, but he would certainly give it all he had.

When the doctor saw Jonathan was nearly done, he gave another laugh and began voyaging off to his left. He hoped to be on the other side by dusk, with no time to waste.

“Come along, my boy, don’t dawdle on the details,” he called. “There’s adventure out there!”

Jonathan panicked as he added a final highlight to the rushing falls. By the time he had packed up again, the doctor was already making his way along the gorge. As he ran to catch up, he felt the soreness of exhaustion return, though mitigated by the sweeping vista. It inspired a feeling deep down inside him that maybe, just maybe, he’d gotten himself into something great.

So it was after midnight, and I was watching a Dr. Livingstone documentary from the Secrets of the Dead series while writing this. I don’t mean for this to be him and Jonathan was invented too, but it was inspirational to think back on great explorers. It must have been incredibly exciting and terrifying to head into the unknown.

Thanks for reading!

Picture source, no changes made.


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Kinda scary short fiction story. @tipu curate

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I love the doctor!!! The "good doctor," a big man, jolly and energetic, charging up the steep hillside, the epitome of America's love affair with Walt Whitman.
Great explorers!! - one of my favorite subjects - thank you, @zeldacroft.
No cameras - just a sketchbook and art supplies to schlepp around in new, uncharted territory, and who has time to draw when, as the doctor points out, ADVENTURE awaits? But thank God the great ones did draw - on the Lewis and Clark expedition, and Karl Bodmer's Illustrations to Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied's expeditions (Brazil, North America).

Your story calls to mind a Moody Blues song about legendary explorers, namely, the one who'd been missing for years; I love the classic, coolly British greeting from the man who found him - Not "OMG, it's you," but the quintessential "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

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Why am I so obsessed with explorers (don't even get me started on Marco Pollo) part it's because most U.S. high school students never hear the name of the great German explorer. Just Lewis and Clark.

In 1832 naturalist Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian (1782-1867), ruler of the small state of Neuwied, Prussia [now in Germany], conducted one of the earliest expeditions to the American West to record the natural history of the region. Accompanying him were Swiss-born artist Karl Bodmer, who produced numerous drawings illustrating their travels, and David Dreidoppel, Maximilian's servant and a skilled hunter-taxidermist.

Of course I blogged about it! And I greatly fear my own sunflower is not the Maximilian, but let us not go there right now. @crescendoofpeace you were looking for seeds, but I'm afraid to send mine, unless you can identify mine and still want it. The real max is on the left:

Did someone say "Oh, let's do go there?'

Clicking on the photo below gets you to the blog (and photo source):

If they put out edible roots, they're Maximilians, which were a favored food for many Native American cultures, as well as for the explorers that followed.

Sunchokes are better known for their tubers, but they far more rarely spread by seed, whereas the Maximilian sunflowers are considered a weed in many places, despite being a beautiful and useful native.

And, surprise surprise, I have a serious thing for the explorers too, as evidenced by my poem The Dark Before the Dawn, which you commented on when I posted it some time back.

I know Maximilian seeds are tiny compared to typical edible sunflower seeds, as I purchased some years ago, but had literally zero sprout.

Not certain what the problem was; I may have simply set them out too early.

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You, enamored of the explorers? I am shocked. Not :)
I'm still trying to discern if my sunflowers are the Max variety. They produce tubers, all right, but I haven't tried eating them. And they must reseed freely. They show up all over, even where I tossed seeds in the fall and they came up in the spring. But if my life depended on it, I wouldn't trust my judgment on whether it's edible.

This link is to the actual Maximilian sunflower, which I couldn't find on the link you provided. They don't talk about the tubers, but it does give a decent description, if not point by point means of identification.

I do have sunchokes, currently in a large pot, but I'll be planting out the tubers in the next few days. Hopefully they'll do well here.

I'd like to have Maximilians in our barnyard, and in a few clearings In our woods, as they are such an amazing nectar source for pollinators.

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Thank you for reminding me - sad to say, as much as I love this poem, I failed to save it somewhere, indexed, accessible - and a year later would likely never have found it again without you supplying the title:

The Dark Before the Dawn

I can relate, as I bookmark posts I really love, but then have to search through hundreds, if not thousands, of bookmarks.

I'm in the process of compiling all my posts again, as my last document disappeared in my hard drive crash, and it's interesting how many of them I had all but forgotten about.

But it also interesting that they still resonate with me, so at least I think I'm on the right track with how I want to present this series of books.

Now I just need to figure out how to describe them concisely.

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Thank you, I’m glad you liked it! Thank goodness Stanley went and found Livingstone, so we could read his journal and learn more of his experiences.

And yes, there’s something special about the art made during expeditions. I’ve never heard of Maximilian or Bodmer, but a Google search shows me that they must have seen incredible things in their travels. Looking back, as an American student, I think we did learn about different explorers, but Lewis and Clark were definitely the focus.

Thanks for sharing the song as well! It’s quite catchy 🎶

Sorry-not-sorry, but I love the story that inspired your excellent story:

Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

A 19th-century explorer named Dr. David Livingstone became something of a national hero through his articles and lectures about his adventures in Africa. In 1864, Livingstone led an expedition to discover the source of the Nile. When little to nothing was heard from or about Livingstone after many years, Europeans and Americans became concerned. In 1871, the publisher of the New York Herald hired Henry Stanley, a newspaper reporter, to find Livingstone. Heading a group of some two hundred men, Stanley headed into the African interior.

After nearly eight months he found Livingstone in a small village on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. As Stanley described the encounter, “As I advanced slowly toward him I noticed he was pale, looked wearied . . .

I would have embraced him, only, he being an Englishman, I did not know how he would receive me; so I . . . walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said, ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?' The phrase “‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” caught the public's fancy, and any number of would-be wits greeted friends with it until the phrase lost all traces of cleverness. But that never stopped people from continuing to use it long past the public's memory of who Livingstone or Stanley were.

They hiked up there in the dark. Must have been quite a trek! No time to capture the moments, there are still many moments to be had. Really great read.

Reminds me of a trip I once made before dawn to be at the edge of a volcano at sun-up. It was spectacular too.

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Oh my gosh, thank you so much!!!

Your story captured the spirit and good humor I've always imagined to be part of Dr. Livingstone's personality. Thank*you! *