When stepping out onto the field, the first thing noticed is the emptiness.
This is odd because the field is crawling with people, objects, things that happen. It is often at maximum capacity. It is full.
The emptiness is not the lack of people or objects, but the absence of substance â€“ a lack of support for its true purpose. Again, this is odd because the field is full of activity. It is buzzing with all sorts of energy, excitement and engagement.
It is jam-packed, chock-full of life.
The current genesis of the field is its most consuming, recognized by all as its finest feature â€“ the ability to enamor. The ability of the field to exist outside of itself, implanted in our minds, plans and schedules all week.
The dual nature of the field â€“ a double entendre of sorts – leads one to abandon any attempt at identifying the true nature of the field because, at once, it is indefinable and also defines itself thoroughly.
The purpose of the field is nothing that feels like something.
The field is rich and ornate, but lacks an inspired appeal. It is tradition without purpose. It mimics authenticity but by its disheartening result, it is stripped of any authentic merit. It is a mere reproduction of a culture those in the field do not fully embrace.
Its placement in proximity to the fundamental structures and fixtures it supports screams out that it belongs.
But the field betrays itself.
Nothing can be added to the field. Things are only taken in by the field, only to be disposed of – dumped on its mud-spattered ground, left to be consumed by stragglers or to endure the weather.
There is so much excitement to choose from – a plethora of options, seemingly Â infinite possibilities, an abundance of delicacies. All of which fill a void, and what a desperate void it is.
With so much angst to fill this void â€“ like a drug addict in need of a fix â€“ the field has become an addiction, forcing its inhabitants to trade unlimited potential for a quick injection.
The field allows for no patience, no resolve. No time to go elsewhere, no time to waste.
Time is taken in the field and paid to the mandatory group activities along with the relentless attraction of games, gatherings and the yearning to flaunt oneâ€™s social standing.
All of which becomes powerful enough to blind its adherents from the bigger picture â€“ what it is there to support – the field across the street, a field with the potential for infinite more color, excitement and substance.
The field â€“ and all of its inhabitants â€“ is redundantly in competition with itself to outdo its previous manifestation of self. How can last week be topped?
Life is not taken, but exchanged in the field, – your non-field life in exchange for the glamour and thrill of the fieldâ€™s life. The field life. There is a flood of communication and interaction in the field, but no conversation.
Merely an inquiry about the current status of your present affairs – if that – and an opportunity to forget or modify said affairs for a brief time. The chance to stand out, fit in and join the status quo.
The chance to be seen as beautiful, fashionable, significant, happy, amused, desired and perfect. The chance to personify the rudimentary script the field has developed for this week. In other words, all the things you may not have been before you entered the field.
The field is constantly overflowing with life, bursting at the seams with life. Sometimes, it is an overload of life. So much so that once one leaves the life of the field it becomes hard to find a comparable saturation of life elsewhere.
The life of the field slaughters the life of everything outside of it, but at the same time feeds off this outside life as well.
Its purpose is to support that of a larger purpose, the field across the street.
But this field prevents ascension, causes oneâ€™s forfeiture to the field across the way.
It represents an unusual paradox, made all the more conflicting because of the fieldâ€™s good intentions. But secretly, the field sparks an internal war that transcends everything among those who traverse within its proximity.
These intentions, however, are cruel. They elude its inhabitants from the true purpose of the field, to act as an elixir for the other field. Only those courageous enough can dispel these notions and escape, crossing the street and into the other field.
Those who do challenge the status quo are seen as subversive, revolutionary, strange.
Unfortunately, those brave enough are few and far between, and as a whole are not strong enough to influence a majority in such ways to eradicate the temptations of the field, and in turn, are quashed in the madness of it all.
After oneâ€™s last sip is gulped, last bite is devoured and last ball has been tossed, the question becomes what next?
This very natural uncertainty is what fills me with dread, because in fact, there should be only one thing for certain.
Main story photograph by Karl Eagleman