Durham was a man of action. He always had to be doing something. When he was a small boy, his body was constantly in motion. Sitting still was torture in school and his parents gave up on quiet family meals. They tried to keep him occupied, and would read him stories, which he would instantly have to act out. Even in his sleep, Durham was moving, tossing, turning and even occasionally, sleep walking off on some unknown quest.
“Quest” was indeed the right word. Durham was a man possessed with the idea of adventure. For every motion his body needed to make, his mind needed to be equally busy. As he grew, Durham often felt he was a man “out of time”… he longed for a more adventurous era. He saw his friends play video games, and sit at computers happily occupied for hours. Yet, he could not do the same. His mind was occupied by the games, but his body would not sit still. He tried playing sports, but his mind too soon became bored with the repetition of action. He craved more.
Durham longed to be a hero. He yearned to chase dragons and rescue princesses. He wanted to search for magic treasures and find long lost cities of ancient civilizations. He craved the physical hardships of travel and the mind exhausting tasks of solving puzzles, like those in so many adventure stories he had heard growing up. He even thought maybe he could be a detective and solve long cold crimes. But the reality of life quickly showed Durham the truth.
He tried to be a detective. On his first stake out, he barely survived the long boring hours of waiting for something to happen. Digging through old files looking for clues, left him sneezing and antsy. He tried an internship with an archeologist, but all they wanted him to do was dig in the dirt with a toothbrush. All he found was a sever sunburn. He tried becoming a movie actor. Thinking he could be an action star and finally chase those dragons. But he soon learned that the dragons were only added later on the computer. The boredom of waiting between scenes, only to be rewarded with repeated leaps at a green wall left him flat. It failed to feed his searching soul.
Durham was lost. He didn’t know how to go on with his life. He was a man of action and adventure, in a world of mundane and sedimentary pursuits. He still had to make a living, and he did the best he could do drifting from job to job. Then one day he found himself on a playground. He watched the children running and climbing, pretending to fight evil creatures and slay fiery dragons, subdue witches and rescue friends in distress. It was as if a long dormant coal had been rekindled in his soul. Here was never ending action. Here was adventure. Here was the constant unknown. Here was childhood.
Durham knew what he had to do. Being a man of action… he did it. He opened a play center for children… and adults. He filled it with every imaginary, adventurous, play structure he could think of… and he could think of a lot. He built things with his own hands. He tested and puzzled and solved every problem that arose. He changed things often so it never became boring or repetitive. And he played… He played with the children. He played with the adults. Many of whom had forgotten how to play. He opened a school to teach playfulness. He met so many new people who shared his need to be active, and he found he was happy.
Then he found love. She was as adventuresome and active has he was. Their love blossomed and grew. It became a whole new adventure. Soon they had their own children, many, many children in fact. Durham realized then that he had forgotten his “quests”… and when he had forgotten to chase after adventure, adventure had found him. He was a parent. He was a man who was always needed to be doing something, he was always moving, he was always thinking and solving, and now he was always loving. His quest had found him.
Don’t ever forget to play… it is the best part of being alive.
Day ten of “Face Lines… and Story Lines”
Words and image by Cicely Robin Laing©2014