Wheels spinning faster than ever, mud flying backwards, gnats swarming, I was stuck. Five miles into the thick forest in the middle of nowhere Maine, I had no service. As survival mode kicked in, I got on my hands and knees and began clawing at the mud underneath my front left tire. “NOO!!!” I screamed as several bugs harassed me. In effort to swat the gnats, I chucked my right hand across the space in front of my face only to launch a piece of mud directly into my eye. I was furious. Deflecting the blame of my ignorant decision, I could not comprehend how my navigation could lead me down such an off-road trail filled with rocks and tree logs. Drenched in mud, I tried again and again to move my car; it wouldn’t budge. Finally, I decided to grab my green North Face backpack and search for help. Adrenaline piercing my veins, I sprinted for 2 miles until I finally came across a large SUV struggling down the same path.
I ran up to the window with my mud black Maryland long sleeve and explained the urgent situation to a heavyset 72-year old local. The man grunted and then told me to hop in. For those of you who have seen the BFG, this man’s accent and demeanor was the closest to that of the BFG that I imagine I will ever encounter, just a bit grumpier. We began trekking down the road and the man asked “you don’t look so close to Maryland right now, what brings you up to this country?” When I explained that I was working on a travel blog, the man gave me a skeptical double glance and then burst out laughing, “Well you better find something else to work on!” He mocked me. I tried to defend myself by stating that there were no signs regarding the poorly paved trail and that I was just following the navigation (Truth is, I have so much to learn, which is a major driving force behind writing this blog and sharing the lessons that my great friend Alec Matalon and I will learn along life’s journey). He laughed, but also seemed kind of irritated and said “there ain’t no warnings up here in Maine country.” He continued explaining how life was different up in “Maine country” and that he was always "strapped" and not afraid to use his gun. When we finally arrived at my car, he told me to remove a large log from the road. I pounced at the opportunity to do whatever it was that he said. After a couple of failed attempts and broken car parts, (my Volkswagen CC was just sent to the junk yard) we finally got my car out of the mud and were able to turn it around. I got out of my car and went to thank him. As I began to explain that I had no cash, he cut me off abruptly “No, no, no!” He exclaimed waving his arms across each other. “Up here in this country, we abide by the Law of the Woods. If you ever see anyone out in the woods who needs help, you help them, that’s it. You understand?” He peered through my soul. I complied sincerely and gave him about 3 more thank yous until he waved me off.
As I finally made my way out onto paved road once again, I began to reflect on the incident that just occurred and it became clear to me. The law of the woods is the moral foundation upon which our endeavors are being built. Both WaterSply and this blog are both forums, truly committed to helping people around the world. Whether it be providing water to those in need or offering a useful piece of advice, we are here to provide a helping hand not only to our friends and family, but also to those we don’t know.
Ironically, the rise of social media and connection of our global population has shifted our human race apart in this sense. There are literally videos of people walking by other humans that are suffering in agony on city sidewalks, in dire need of help, with absolutely no regard for the victim’s health. Constant media pollution and fear of the worst has caused our society to forget that we, our human race, are here on this planet together. The odds of every single person on Earth being here today are far less than that of winning the Power Ball and the Mega Millions. Think about it. And yet you and every living person that you know are here today. Why? Whether the answer is scientific or divine, what matters is that we are all on this planet without a solidified explanation, we all have a purpose and we are all on this journey of life together. It is time restructure our collective perception of this world and those we share it with, one drop at a time.
Welcome to Waterfall the World.
Here is a Snap story that shows my journey from Angel Falls to Screw Auger Falls and a bit of the chaos in between. Didn't get any footage of the BFG (bailed on asking him for a pic after he told me he was "strapped" lol).