Scintilla prompt: Talk about a time when you got away with it.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

-from “This Land is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie

Hardly anybody knows all the verses to that song, but I love that one in particular.

Most of the time (at least most of the times when there’s actually something interesting to see), “No Trespassing” is a way of keeping you safe, or at least a way of keeping absentee owners safe from liability if you’re determined to do something stupid. There’s almost never anyone around who cares enough to enforce what’s on the sign. There’s nothing to take but photos, so what, besides you, is there to protect?

My first experience with exploring forbidden places was in college. I had a group of friends who loved to get into places. We started with the steam tunnels under campus, then explored places in town like the abandoned greenhouses at an old state hospital and the gutted remains of a factory. A mission to a never-completed nuclear facility was scrapped due to security, but camping and even caving were a part of the group’s repertoire. While all of us live in different places now, most of us still have a penchant for adventure.

Exploring the steam tunnels under campus.

I was pretty cautious, as adventurers went. First Aid certified and a Red Cross volunteer, I became known as the person who always had something on hand for scrapes and scratches, and the occasional burn. I remember being terrified, attempting to walk along a pipe that crossed a ravine late at night on a cold, furiously windy night. I worried I might fall and die. But I didn’t. And I walked that pipe many times afterwards. The spirit of my friends did me a lot of good.

Luckily for me, I married a man whose spirit of adventure outpaces mine more than enough to keep me on my toes. Whether it’s a half-built castle in the backwoods of Ohio (yes, you heard that correctly) or just a ridge in the park that begs to be climbed, we’re there.

Telling about “the time I got away with it” is like telling about the time I sang along to the radio, or the time I walked to the store. I don’t run around telling lies or stealing or anything dramatic like that. But I do prefer to read the backs of “No Trespassing” signs, which don’t say anything.

Because that side was made for you and me.

Advertisements