Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Bout of Reluctance

I had my first flash of reluctance for our sabbatical last night, and then had that feeling reinforced a bit today.

Last night I was walking home from a meeting of a transportation committee I serve on for our small town. The regional bus service has cut service drastically because of the recession and our small town was hit probably hardest by those reductions. But that really just caused us to look at our transportation needs, and the ideas that have been popping up are as cool and funky as our town. (For those not familiar with Minturn, Colorado, let me read a bit of the introduction to our community plan: “The Town of Minturn values...its funky, eclectic style.” So see, we are officially funky.)

So I’m walking back from this meeting on a beautiful, clear, mountain night, having just been brainstorming cool, funky solutions for our cool, funky town, and I’m imagining how much more funkified Minturn could be and how fun it would be to have a hand in that.

Then today I was to meet up with a team of U. of Colorado students in an advanced masters course. They will be examining our valley this school term with design and planning eyes to transportation, natural resources, community, energy, and other issues. When I arrived there, they were already set up classroom style facing a panelist table. I didn’t expect to be placed before these guys looking like some expert. I am not. But I and three others from our community got to essentially think out loud on high-minded concepts with these students, free from the pool of political, social, economic and other constraints that we locals usually swim in. But this “studio” project is more about discovering what’s possible, not what the challenges are to those possibilities, which is the world we all typically deal with in trying to create change in our communities.

And again, I think about what exciting and interesting things could be happening here while we are away in Ecuador.

But at the same time I realize, from events like this one with the design students, that great possibility reveals itself best when we are able to shed our biases, change our perspectives, step away from our expectations—to be foreign in our own homes. And I know that possibility is always limitless, and that great opportunity will always lie ahead, no matter what great or horrible things may be unfolding at any time. So I am content, no, even more excited, to go to South America, after experiencing that reluctance, because this trip will make what I am afraid of missing actually more rewarding and rich by gaining new perspective.

Yeah, that's it. Thanks for your time today, Doc. I'm all re-rationalized.

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