Is there anything less inspiring than an electric, wall mounted “fire” place? What if an unused treadmill and overzealous hand weights faced it?
My world isn’t terribly glamorous. It isn’t special, or consistently breathtaking. I don’t run as much as I should, and I don’t run anywhere fun or Instagram worthy. Right now it’s just a quarter mile gravel road that loops into itself. The over manicured lawns of my parents extra-elderly neighbors scoff at my boot socks pulled high over the bulk of my calf. I don’t see much point in compression socks to be honest with you. My boot socks might be out of place, but they certainly fit the rest of my ensemble of Target brand running gear and New Balance sneakers.
With all that said there is something marvelous about the way the light hits the water during that time of the the day “where the light gets all long and slanty,” as my wife likes to put it. There is something kind of incredible about the soft fog stretching across quivering blades of grass on the main road near my parents farm. And just this morning I had to stop to watch a swallow stretch its tail feathers while dancing through ancient barbed wire fence.
I’m in rural Kansas for the summer. A love affair of the Midwest’s Protestant work ethic and the unshakeable air of involuntary poverty. It has its moments of beautiful landscape, especially as you get closer to one of the major college towns. But far more often the oppressive flat-ness of the local farms tires the eyes well before the rolling flint hills have a modicum of a chance to impress the ambivalent road-tripper.
It is no surprise here that depression and addiction is at an all time high. Of course it is all undiagnosed and swept under the rug cobbled together by grandma’s religion. I drove through a town on the way to see fireworks this 4th of July that had “METHWATCH — If you see something, say something!” posted to their county limit board. If it isn’t meth it’s opioids dolled out by disinterested general practitioners, or the $10 handle of Taaka Vodka dolled out by the somehow more disinterested liquor clerk.
But there’s magic in the air… -Timon, the Lion King
Amid all of this destitution and the degradation of the tenacious American spirit, there are a million and four opportunities to breath deep and take in the dose of now-ness present in our everyday lives. It is so easy to miss the chance to thank the Power that Is for another breath and another breath. It is so easy to post a vacation calendar in your peripheral at the blue-grey cubicle, and assume that after a week and half, that paradise would make you feel any more alive.
I’m not against hope. I am not against longing for a more suitable place to thrive. However, if we are not able to thrive where we are, what will change if we move?
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles.