Monday, October 7, 2019

Strategic rut avoidance.

As we flutter down into autumn, shorter days create opportunities for new habits to form.  Or maybe just old habits re-emerging after a summer of dormancy.  One of these -- which is quite welcome -- is finding time to read before bed, instead of merely collapsing exhausted.

While camped at 10,000' a few nights ago, with the wind ripping outside and a few dozen driven raindrops stinging the skin of the van, I burrowed into William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways.  It is, in my humble opinion, a work that can (must?) be re-read every few years, so insightful is it that I doubt even a borderline savant could ingest every gem in fewer than a handful of readings.

One of many that leapt out at me that night, and that stuck with me throughout the next day's ride, was this:

After the Rappites, the hedges disappeared, but a generation ago, citizens replanted the maze, it's contours strikingly like the Hopi map of emergence.  

I walked through it to stretch from the long highway.  Even though I avoided the shortcut holes broken in the hedges, I still went down the rungs and curves without a single wrong turn.  

The "right" way was worn so deeply in the earth as to be unmistakeable.  But without the errors, wrong turns, and blind alleys, without the doubling back and misdirection and fumbling and chance discoveries, there was not one bit of joy in walking the labyrinth.  

And worse: knowing the way made traveling it perfectly meaningless.

Like many who've arrived at middle age, I often find myself consciously leaning into the happy rut that is my everyday life, embracing what has been created through years of effort and not a little bit of good luck.  

It takes something special -- the change of seasons always suffices -- to make me conscious of the need to step out of that rut.  

Once I've stopped looking over my shoulder at its' comforting familiarity and begun to embrace what's in front of me, I always, always realize that new experiences are more valuable to me than almost anything else.

Thanks for checkin' in.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyable post as usual, but also glad to see Blue Highways getting some love. That book is in my top-five, such an excellent work.