The Space We Live In

#growmeastory cda river jacobs gulch kellogg high school silver mountain Nov 14, 2022

By Paul Roberts

The venue is never neutral.

I’m not sure where I got it, but I know I used that phrase, or one similar to it, many times in my career as a communications teacher. The thought I wanted my students to consider was that when preparing to present a speech, they should make themselves aware of the space they would be presenting in and how it might impact their message. A large space with a large audience, or a small space with a small audience, changes the dynamics of communication in ways that I wanted them to at least consider. 

My room at Kellogg High School was, I believe, the best room in the building. Three walls of  large windows where we could look down on the beauty that is Jacobs Gulch, where thick pine trees leave glimpses of a small creek meandering its way to the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene river. We could see across the valley floor to where the forested mountains rise again to Kellogg Peak and the open acres of the Silver Mountain ski resort, beautiful in every season of the year.

I’ve realized recently how much more that phrase means to me. The venue is never neutral. The space I inhabit is never neutral, or at least, it shouldn’t be. The space I inhabit, my own personal venue, where I will create the remainder of my life, is so much bigger, so much more all inclusive than I realized back when I was using it to make a fairly narrow point to my students in my beautiful but incredibly limited room at KHS.

The venue, the space I live in, is more than just physical space. I think about the “head space” I live in, the thoughts and attitudes and beliefs that I live in, that change the dynamics of who I am to others and to myself. That head space is a place where, as the Apostle Paul put it “we see in a mirror, dimly” and where we “know in part” and therefore communicate only in part.

I am one year into this intentional creative journey Carol and I call Grow Me A Story, and the thought crosses my mind that the more clearly I am aware of the venue or the space around me, the more clearly I will be able to communicate with the rest of the world. That means both the physical space and the head space. One of the goals of this “art of creative living” is to communicate better with myself while I try to communicate better with the rest of creation. I hope to continue on this process of knowing myself and the world around me even better in the coming year, and as always, you are invited to come along with me. 


I am a product of the Silver Valley…of North Idaho…of the Inland Northwest…of my state…of the United States…of my world…solar system?...galaxy?…universe? How do those spaces shape me and my thoughts?

What spaces are you a part of, and how do those spaces and places shape you?

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