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A mountain to explore in our own backyard

Written by Andy Caley

Earlier this summer, my family and I embarked on an arduous journey to Yellowstone National Park. We set out with an overloaded RV and a small band of young adults. The journey, though well planned, was fraught with danger, from mountain passes to long stretches of highway under a blazing sun. I asked myself, as I clung to the steering wheel for dear life, “What is it that drives us to take such tremendous risks in the name of the journey?” Shortly after our arrival, we traveled to Mesa Falls, a powerful set of waterfalls surrounded by a lush forest that is as breathtaking in beauty as fierce in power. The water roared like thunder as it rushed over the edge and plunged forever into the river below. From where we sat we were safe from the river’s power. The spectators wondered at the scene for a short time and then began the movement, like grazing cattle to the next big thing. In the distance, I heard the questioning of a child asking what the small colored dots were moving in the distance near the top of the great waterfall. I could not believe my eyes. Through my binoculars, I saw the madness of people preparing to kayak down the raging wall of water. They looked human but surely no right-minded human would do what I knew they were about to do. Within moments the first kayak spilled over the edge and disappeared down the fifty-foot wall of foam and was swallowed by the mouth of the river. Everyone watching was aghast and scanned the bottom of the waterfall for survivors. One by one, the colorful kayaks emerged with the navigators screaming a victory call to the onlookers and in the face of the river’s raging spirit. I understood at that moment why I came. I understand now, why we all came. We wanted to live as much as would be afforded to us.

The human heart is restless in its search for meaning and purpose. We go to great lengths and distances to satisfy our searching. We will go to the ends of the Earth to feel alive and beyond if our pockets are deep enough. Sadly, many of the adventures that lie right before us are overlooked as we lust after places unknown. I was in my late thirties when I discovered Quincy Community Theater and the vast riches of community found there.  I had no idea that within walking distance, a mountainous experience would change my life forever. Not only did I come face to face with my fear, but I was also able to overcome that fear with the encouragement of a diverse group of travelers very different but also very much like me. The differences between us disappeared as our likeness as human beings on a common quest chased them away. The layers of community, challenges, and victories I found there were like plunging into the ocean and never reaching the bottom. Cast and crew, craftspeople, and humble volunteers of different backgrounds and beliefs join together and create an environment of adventure and community for all who choose to simply walk in the door. The magic of community has been studied by countless researchers as they try to understand its powerful impact around the world. The reality is that magic begins when we choose to take the first step and begin the quest of telling the story together. You are more important to the story than you could ever imagine. When you choose to embark on the journey of community theater whether on the stage or behind the scenes, you begin a life-changing experience that will leave you changed forever. Every one of us is a traveler from our first breath to our last we are on the journey. Let us remember as we live together in this place, at this time, that Quincy Community Theater is a mountain to explore in our backyard.

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