What is it that keeps us coming back into wilderness areas for more? We leave the supposed safety and comforts of our homes, our towns, our cities, and we plunge deep into the wild to pedal, explore, bikepack, or bomb down hills on shuttled runs. Why? Is it the insanity and sterility of living in the city that propels us outward? Is it boredom and the need to someway somehow put our lives ever so slightly in harm’s way? Whatever the reason, the wilderness calls.
Do we listen?
Someone once quipped that being in a rut is like a coffin with the ends kicked out. Meaning, we’re stuck and it becomes soul-sucking. A slow plodding march to the grave. It can happen to anyone. We get in a groove, a routine, and before we know it we succumb to living in the monotony and mundaneness of the ordinary. Even the extraordinary can become ordinary without variety. That’s why pro racers need an off-season to rest (momentarily) and pursue other things that light their fires. We can’t be “on” 24/7 otherwise we’ll find ourselves in this rut … and we’re enveloped. Swallowed alive. The worst kind of death.
Trends and fads are ever-changing. As soon as you seem to catch up they move right out from under you … with the ferocity of getting the rug pulled right out from under you. You land on the ground with a dull thud. Ouch. Sometimes these fads last but a few weeks. It was like a radiant comet shooting across the night time sky, but it vanished as quickly as it came. Some trends last a few years. You may have held out (and still do) of the whole skinny jeans thing. Finally after resisting for years you bought a pair of slim (not super skinny, mind you) pants from Old Navy, but all of a sudden you’re noting baggy is trickling back in.
Whether we live in cities or in rural communities we’re tied to the land. Terra firma. No, that doesn’t mean we’re all farmers, ranchers, or loggers. We’re grounded in a topography. A geography. Even in urban studies when I teach university courses on the city we explore this notion of a city’s site and situation. We talk about topography, geography, climate, resources, and more. It influences us in the city … the rain and lush forests of the Pacific Northwest … the sun, heat, and arroyos of the Southwest. We’re tied to the land.
I get restless. Always have. And I mean always. Now, the “where” of what I was drawn to at the moment has changed over the years. But the common denominator still remains the same ... exploring (to me) the frontier. As you can imagine, if the frontier represents the front edge of my experiences then it certainly is evolving and moving.
For many, coffee is a utilitarian substance in the same manner as gasoline is for our cars. Both are meant to provide fuel and as far as associations that is the beginning and the end of it. Sure, depending on the type of engine we have, it may necessitate a higher grade fuel. But it is still fuel. Why is coffee viewed that way?