The Young Man and His Field

by | August 5, 2015, 12:46pm 0

Once upon a time, there was a young man. At the edge of the town where this young man lived, far down the end of a long stretch of road and behind a grove of oak, there lay a green field, flat and lush and vibrant, soft at the step. There were many other fields in the town and many of them were in good repair and so this field remained at the distant edge unused and forgotten to nearly all, except for the young man.

Every day the young man woke with the sun and in private, while the town still slept, stole like a whisper across the town to go and run on the field. Some days it rained, and the wind pebbled him about the face, trying to turn him back. Some days the night’s frost clung jealously to the grass and bit his toes till they numbed. Still other days, and sometimes these were the same as the rainy and frosty ones, dawn found his body spent from his prior day’s work. Still, nothing could keep him from the field. He had come to think of it as his own private meadow, where he was free to contemplate his body as he ran, a small land devoid of distraction.

He ran in privacy with diligence and concentration because he knew he needed to be ready. Soon a test would come to him, he was sure of this, even if he wasn’t sure what the test would be. He knew simply that he needed to be ready. What he did not know was that the test had already begun, the day he first walked down the long stretch of road to his field. The training was the test, and the test was a mere formality. The universe had felt him set foot on the field and asked him, how fully are you able to devote yourself to a dream? How purposeful are you in the work you do? How much temporary discomfort are you willing to endure to accomplish your enduring dream?

The young man awoke. Like a rumor, a hushed whisper, he made his way to the edge of the town. He looked up, wondering what the test would be. He stepped onto the field. He ran.

This is a story. It’s not a story with an ending. This is a story about stories.

I write this letter to twenty young men looking down a long road toward their own field. There are five weeks between today and tryouts, the returners’ meeting approaching sooner still. But it’s as if the college series is already here. For you twenty, having played at least one college season, you know the series is already here. That’s probably the biggest advantage of being a returner, perhaps the only one: the first-hand knowledge of the severe speed with which nine months of life tick by before you stand faced with your own test. This means that the window of advantage you have over others is quickly closing. Tryouts are a formality; the real test is the training, and it is always around you.

There are young men nearby right now finding their own field, preparing themselves to vie for a coveted spot on this upcoming team – same jersey, but new team, new energy, new dynamic, new roles to be played. There are young men, too, on distant fields, preparing themselves for a test in May.  The whole of our lives spins forward as a fractal. Stripped away of all distraction, you are only a young man. You are worthy of love and respect just as you are and yet there are millions others just like you, wanting and dreaming and working as you want, as you dream, as you work. Each of you has your field.

Life is a story about stories. And like the young man, it will not be judged by what happens at the end. The ending is a formality. The true test, real life, is everything you do in between. A young man and his field, a series of tryouts, a trying series, you and your death. The whole of your life blooms, expands, repeats, a fractal. Don’t wait until death. Don’t wait until the series. Don’t wait until tryouts. Don’t wait. You are alive now. Live now. Run.

Hhodag Love

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