Make the World Big Again

Something wasn't right. Not a big thing. Good health. Coffee with friends. No library fines. The crossing guard down the street knew me by name. That was all fine.

I wasn't on thin ice or in hot water. I was busy. Busy with work I knew, people I knew, ideas I knew. Everything was managed or manageable. Still, something wasn't right.

One cold morning, I walked the same route I always walked. And halfway through, as I began the return home, I realized there wasn't much I was excited about.

My calendar was filled with things I could handle. And emptied of contrast, unpredictability, the friction of being up against the unknown. I'd taken this big, incomprehensible world and made it small and comprehensible.

There was no spark, no heat, no fire to my days. Because I'd traded in excitement for manageability.

But, as any camper knows, there's no fire without friction. We need matchsticks and strikers, two sticks rubbed together, contrast and some unpredictability. And that, I decided, was what my calendar could use more of.

This didn't all come to me on my walk home. It was a gradual realization, opening up over a few more walks, a few more quiet moments. And from these walks, these quiet moments, came the idea of weekly field trips.

A field trip is intentional disorder in my usual order. I took an Aikido class, walked a bit of the US-Mexico border, looked at the stars through a 26" telescope.

But really, these field trips are moments of friction, some small, some big. Moments of newness that are at times unmanageable, at times, unhandle-able. And all times, exciting.

They are a chance to grow a bit, a chance to learn a bit. And a chance to make the world big again.

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