Monday, August 28, 2006

Why?

This post will soon be a glorious and philosophical examination of my trip around the city of Saskatoon. For now, I want you to know that I have been successful in an all too short 16 hours and 17 minutes.

Perhaps obsession would be too strong a word to describe it. But, I have been pursuing this goal for more than 10 years. Sometimes without diligence and sometimes with everything I had in me.

Why?

I have heard that question more often than any other in association with this quest of mine. Some people decree that it doesn't really seem that difficult. Why bother? Some think that it is an inane way to spend 16 hours. Could I be just a little bit crazy? Recently, Wendy wanted to know why it was so important? Why keep going back to this seemingly innocuous task? After all, since my first attempt I have lived in three different towns/cities, I have had two children and I have backpacked through Italy. It seems as though a walk around town should hardly register on the radar.

I didn't really figure it out until I was on the journey. You see, I don't want to climb Mt Everest. It seems like I should, but I just don't. In Pump Up the Volume(imdb), Mark says, "All the great themes have been used up and turned into theme parks." I disagree, and yet the point is well taken. I have this feeling that climbing Everest(wikipedia) is just the latest 'extreme' theme park. (And, I am very aware that this is spoken by someone who has never achieved the summit and looked down from the "top of the world.") Don't get me wrong -- I'm sure it is an incredible challenge, but it belongs to someone else. In fact, thousands of people at last count. Yes, there are other mountains (real and metaphorical) but this one is mine.

Agon(wikipedia). Time and again I come back to this Greek term. "The Struggle." I think that it is the one thing that Captain Kirk and I may actually have in common (besides a nice tan and striking good looks). Struggle is really what makes us become our best. Perhaps it even does define us as humans. This is what I came to realize: I did not want to simply walk around the city! I wanted it to be hard. Hard enough that I took a real risk of failure -- yet tame enough that there is no risk to my family that they would be orphaned by my failure. Telling everyone I knew about it before my departure wasn't so much for the well-wishing that naturally ensues, but to increase the penalty of failure -- to heighten the risk.

Well, that is a long answer for a simple concept. I trust that I have rambled long enough to outlast even my most stalwart readers. I would post some inline pictures from the trip but, alas, I have exhausted my flicker bandwidth limit for the month you will have to make do with this link to a Picassa album. Go with the slideshow option to get nice, big pics.
Around the City
Aug 28, 2006 - 13 Photos