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Running Home

  I went back home to Minnesota for a brief summer vacation. While there I kept up my routine of running-giving me a chance to revisit my childhood neighborhoods.

  I paused when I came to the Reimer School of Music, where I took two years of guitar lessons (and didn’t learn a thing). I stopped to read the new sign: The Reimer Hadley Academy of Fine Arts.

  Maybe I’m making too much of this, but I didn’t have much else to think about as I resumed my run. My first thought was that this is just another sign that we’ve gone too far in promoting things to the point of silliness. “Why can’t we just call a school of music a school of music?” I wondered.

Fulfilling small dreams

  My mind wandered as I started to get tired in the mild, but noticeable, Minnesota humidity. I grew more charitable. I thought, “Maybe there really is a difference between an academy and a school.” I imagined a calm and pleasantly determined place where people fulfilled small dreams. A place where people perfected dance moves that have been in their head for years. A place where people picked up paintbrushes and created art, under the guidance of wise teachers. A place where people actually learned to play the guitar.

  Maybe Hadley had made a valuable addition to the Reimer school.

I turned around at the halfway point and ran back past the academy. I started to picture similar large, old, three-story houses. One on every block, helping people realize and refine pursuits that make life more worth living. These wouldn’t be escapist activities, but disciplines that would actually help us slow down and simplify. They wouldn’t shut out the world, but would get us more involved in it in ways that matter.

Listening, not preaching

  As I headed up the last hill toward home, I decided maybe I was just getting giddy from all the oxygen I was sucking into my lungs. But what’s wrong with taking a second look at a negative first impression? Maybe we ought to be a little less cynical. Perhaps we should be slower to snarl and quicker to assume that people are basically kind, are doing their best, and a lot of them might have pretty good ideas.

  I slowed to a walk as I headed up the driveway. I thought, “I’m thinking too hard.” In my run through the old neighborhoods, I had started giving myself a sermon. But this was a time for listening, not preaching. The result of running home should not be a plan, but a feeling that puts you on a better path.

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