The Routine Non-Routine

Each year, on or around the first day of summer, I read the first chapter of John R. Stilgoe’s necessary text, Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places.  Here’s the first paragraph.  It gets me, as the saying goes, every time:

Get out now.  Not just outside, but beyond the trap of the programmed electronic age so gently closing around so many people at the end of our century.  Go outside, move deliberately, then relax, slow down, look around.  Do not jog.  Do not run  Forget about blood pressure and arthritis, cardiovascular rejuvenation and weight reduction.  Instead pay attention to everything that abuts the rural road, the city street, the suburban boulevard.  Walk.  Stroll.  Saunter  Ride a bike, and coast along a lot.  Explore.

It doesn’t hurt, for this teacher-writer, that the form of the above paragraph perfectly matches its function.

Here’s one more Stilgoe sentence to help launch your summer:  “Ordinary exploration begins in casual indirection, in the juiciest sort of indecision, in deliberate, then routine fits of absence of mind.”

What more is there to say on June 25?

outside lies magic

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