Remember when we were kids, and adventure/runaway tales always ended with the lesson that one need never search for excitement farther away than one’s own back yard? Even Dorothy said it, after her reunion with Toto, the rest of her family, and that farmhand unaccountably named Hunk, or some such thing. (Hunk of what? Did the guy have no self-esteem just because he worked with pigs?)
But I regress. At age 8, we all knew that the in-you-own-back-yard thing was an adult canard, a veiled scare tactic to keep us from running away to join the circus or find the buried treasure. We knew nothing worthwhile could be buried beneath the caky soil of our boring back yards. You had to travel far, confront evildoers, and overcome unspecified but exciting dangers to really prosper.
Once we went off and joined the adult circus, we learned a thing or two. Traveling far is all well and good, but 100 trips to the grocery store also add up. Evildoers tend to have a direct line to human resources, who cannot see their innate evil. And dangers become even less specific as time goes on. Being the undaunted hero of one’s own story takes more and more energy.
So the occasional respite in one’s own back yard takes on a new attraction. And if, like me, you’re lucky enough to have a back yard full of nice things to look at while the dog trots around happily, so much the better. Tarry ho. — Adam Barr
Copyright 2012 Adam Barr