When I was a boy growing up in northern Minnesota, I can remember a day when our family drove along a dirt road in what seemed the middle of nowhere. I don’t remember our vehicle–probably our red and white 1979 suburban. I can’t recall where we were headed. As a child, it was just another warm, sunny summer afternoon in the sticks. I do remember this: We pulled over alongside the road with no concern of passing cars. There were none. Once the engine was turned off, there was nothing but the sounds of wind, birds, and our feet crunching the dirt road. Then breaking up the woodsy-swampy terrain to our right, and trickling underneath the road ahead, was a creek.

Dad walked toward it, knelt down in the ditch, and dipped his cupped hands into the stream. He brought some of that clear, crisp, cool water to his mustached mouth. The next thing I remember, he was explaining to the family that it was fine to drink. The movement of the water through the rushes along its banks filtered the water. So we all had a drink that afternoon. And I’ve since learned that it’s the standing water you need to be wary of. It can grow stagnant, growing some things unfit for our consumption.

Relating this to humans, I think about one’s need to move through life. I’ve taken this literally with my time abroad and on the road here in the US. For me, something does come alive when I’m on the move. But also for those who prefer to settle down in one place, we have the need to progress in other ways–do our jobs, grow as individuals, stay busy. A rolling stone gathers no moss, to use another nature analogy.

Last Saturday, I was feeling icky because my sinuses acted up with the cooling temperatures. I was groggy and grumpy and wanted to go back to bed. So instead, I went to a gym class with power lifter Tyler, whose muscular manliness took me and other wannabees through a regiment of weighted activities. Best move I could’ve made. And I moved alright. The exertion livened me up–and made me thirsty for some creek water. Too bad I was in a city.


This article was based off of my weekly email to family, friends, and readers. If you’d like to receive these Sunday emails and become part of The Periphery community, please let me know at brandon@theperiphery.com

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