353: “What Is Space, To You?” (Becky Chambers)

                “What we want you to ask yourselves is this: what is space, to you? Is it a playground? A quarry? A flagpole? A classroom? A temple? Who do you believe should go, and for what purpose? Or should we go at all?” -Becky Chambers, To Be Taught, If Fortunate

                Yesterday I went on a walk. I found myself watching all the pink magnolia petals on the sidewalk—crushed to brown and half crushed to brown and freshly fallen. I found myself thinking I should go another twenty minutes to make sure I moved that day. I found myself wondering about all the different things I sometimes mean when I say, “I’m going for a walk.” I mean exercise. I mean a time of paying attention to my feet, the trees, the wind. I mean getting to where I’m going. I mean wandering. I mean time with a friend, focused on each other by sharing these steps. I mean chasing some thought I can’t quite find.
                That conceptual play, that question about what we say and what we mean, and what else we might mean, is my favorite part of Becky Chambers’ To Be Taught, If Fortunate. It’s a novella intent on asking questions. What is space, to you? A playground for your delight? A quarry with valuable resources? A flagpole where we hang our national pride? It’s a style of question I find myself asking a lot. What is education, to you? Is it professional preparation? Is it a shield privilege builds around itself? A walk through wander?
                When you walk, what are all the different things you’re doing?

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