Friday, November 4, 2011

There's water all over the floor......

I've always wanted to learn to play chess. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because there is an appeal to a game that requires thinking about more than your next move. 

"Hmmm. If I move this castle thing here now, that horse over there can spring on me two moves from least if my opponent scoots his Queen into that space on his next move." (You can tell, I'm sure, that I don't know anything about who can move where and when, or not.......but I've made my point. I hope.)

And all of this has become more understandable to me as I've gotten older. Not that any of that understanding came easily. I'm thinking about all those impulsive actions I took when I was younger. Like having no thought at all about what might happen tomorrow if I stole that street sign and put it in my garage for a laugh. Or when I took off for Colorado with four college friends, driving from Florida in a Pinto with a cat in the back seat. The one who had never traveled anywhere before and screamed halfway across the country. (The cat, not me.)

When we're younger, we just don't think about what hides behind the move right in front of us. Or we don't want to look that far because then our fun would be spoiled today. But once made, those decisions cannot be unmade, much like trying to put water back into a bottle. Not going to happen. The water simply makes the floor slick enough for some nasty falls. People get hurt, things get broken, and the damage is done. Very often forever.

So, much like chess, maturity in life brings with it the ability to peek around that next action we're considering, just for a tiny minute, to see if we can forecast the consequences of one decision or another, one path or the other. We have the ability to hold ourselves in check, at least long enough to weigh our moves, and save ourselves a lot of heartache in the end.

And maybe some jail time when the cops come looking for their sign. 

So, let's play chess!

The beauty of a move lies not in its appearance but in the thought behind it.  
Aaron Nimzowitsch

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