Active Imagination

When a young man in my family decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail—a 2600-mile hike starting near the Mexico border and ending near the Canadian border—I was all for it. I loved that he’d earmarked the summer between college and grad school for this adventure and had spent months preparing for it, demonstrating courage, imagination, and determination I couldn’t have summoned at his age. I loved hearing his plans, bought him some of the gear he needed, and on the day he actually set out, I was thrilled. I was also terrified. The PCT has desert, bear country, an ice cap. Ankles twist. Gear malfunctions. Storms roll in when they’re not supposed to. It was an exhilarating challenge for him, this hike, and a decidedly not exhilarating challenge for me, keeping my imagination in check until he got back. And guess what—we both met our challenges!

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