Today I ran through an open field.
Why? Because, why not?
The first step is to step outside. I wondered, where am I going? What should I bring? But there was a nudge at my back, a whisper in my brain. Just go.
Sunday morning was like a ghost town in my neighborhood. It was before the church down the street was filling with people, so everything was eerily quiet. There was even a soft, steady breeze whistling through the trees. It was cool for a summer morning and the empty streets were slightly overcast.
Walking down my street, I couldn’t help getting that post-apocalypse feeling. I decided to go somewhere different–some way I don’t usually go when I walk around. Approaching the campus area, I turned left toward the highway instead of right toward all the familiar campus buildings, the giant new Art gallery on 10th Ave. In front of me was a vacant lot with the familiar sign: “Permit Parking Only.” There was a hill next to it. I had passed this hill but never seen the other side, assuming it was another lot or some boring office building. Climbing the hill, I saw it was a large white hunk of cement with bold black letters that spelled “Epic School.”
“What seriously?” I asked no one–perhaps the wind. Was this some group or art installment affiliated with the college? Under the bold title was a smaller indented designation, something about perpetuating the imagination, and the name of the person who started the school. No, it was just an elementary school. This thing was one block from my house. How did I never see this? The building was all corrugated metal and weird, slanted rectangles for windows. It looked more like an abandoned science lab.
The parking lot exited onto a familiar road, the one that led past the sports fields and a couple of campus parking lots, eventually feeding onto a main road. I would usually be unconcerned with the sports fields, but on the other side of the fence were the first two humans I had seen this morning. They were dressed in uniform, obviously warming up for some exercise. Passing the opening to the fence, for some reason the thought occurred to me to run out into the field. I shook it off, but it had a strong hold. Well, I thought, seeing the water fountain right at the entrance, they won’t mind me stepping just inside to get a drink. My throat was a little dry.
So I took a sip, glanced to see that the two men hadn’t noticed me at all, and continued on my walk. But several feet down the road I stopped again.
Why the hell would I not run across that field? Sure, I would look weird, but who were those people? It wasn’t as though I would disturb them, they were obviously having some informal practice, and on the other side of the field. What would it hurt? Who would care?
Before I knew it, I was walking sternly back toward that opening. There were even stairs leading right into the grass–beckoning. My heart was pounding.
When is the last time you did something that made your heart pound in your chest?
And then, with a smile, I was climbing those stairs, and the wind was blowing past me, and my feet were beating into the grass, the ground hard and sturdy beneath me, and all that was in front of me was open field.
Glancing back before I left, breath catching, heart still pounding, I saw that the two men hadn’t noticed me at all.