I went for a walk today
On my favorite dirt road
Following the mountain stream
As it made its way down
From here to there
Eventually to the ocean.
I walked under a canopy of yellow and gold.
Showing off their fall colors.
Every once in a while the wind would blow
And the leaves I had been admiring above me a moment before
Would suddenly be dancing around me
Bringing their beauty close enough to touch.
I am deeply aware
Of what a privilege it is
To walk in peace
And to be surrounded by unspeakable beauty.
I am surrounded by reminders.
The family pictures.
The stone I picked up on a hike in the mountains.
The stuffed moose my mother gave me.
The Native American story telling woman statue I bought for my wife.
The loon I carved when I was first learning to work with wood.
The books I read and got lost in only to come out the other end different than when I started.
The china bowl that once belonged to my great-grandmother.
The card my Valentine gave me yesterday.
Each and all a reminder.
A link to who and where I have been.
But what about today?
What about where I am going?
And who I want and might be?
The seeds lie in the memories which surround me.
But the answers…
The real answers…
Are hidden in the mystery before me.
Which is exciting
And sometimes scary.
Pilgrim, there is no way. You make it by walking.
Today I sat and looked out the window.
At the snow.
Allowing my mind to wander where it wanted.
Then I walked the dog.
Not necessarily because the dog needed to be walked,
But because I wanted to walk.
To be outside.
To feel the sun.
And the breeze.
I stopped for a while and talked with a neighbor.
A little later in the day the dog and I went for a walk again.
Then I read a book.
Sometimes with the dog sitting on my lap.
Dozing every so often between pages.
Then it was time for dinner.
I subscribe to Unfolding Light, a daily prayer/meditation written by the Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes. What he wrote this morning resonated deeply with me. It wraps words around why I walk in the woods and why I need to walk in the woods. I thought I would share it with you.
When I walk in woods
I go not to get somewhere,
not to ponder, not to think.
I go there to be there.
I look and see what I see.
I hear what I hear.
I enter. I notice.
And I am allowed.
I am no stranger here
or even in strange places.
They know me.
I am of this same earth,
fashioned of the same soil.
They do not judge.
They offer their being
as if speaking.
I let them bless me.
For the rest of the day
they breathe in me.
Their colors, their songs
ooze from me all day.
I am always still there.
I began writing a blog a couple of years ago.
Part of the reason for doing so was to connect or to stay connected with people beyond those whom I see on a regular basis.
Part of the reason was the discipline of writing.
Writing several times each week has become something of spiritual discipline for me forcing me to carve out time to pay attention to who I am and how I am and where I am. And to see and name those points of intersection between my faith, my best values and the world in which I live.
Now, a couple of years later it is time for a change.
Some of that change is reflected in a new platform and a new name for my blog.
Some of it has to do with my having more clarity now than when I began about why I write and what I hope to communicate through what I write.
So, welcome to We Get There By Walking.
The name comes from a banner that hung in a retreat center where I stayed many years ago.
Here is the story.
Shortly after I graduated from college I spent a month living at a retreat center in high desert outside of Sedona, Arizona. Silence was the order of the day…and of the night.
Those who lived or stayed at the center spoke only at meals and to give instructions for the daily work we did to maintain the center and during our morning and evening worship services. The rest of the time was spent in silence.
The banner I remember hung in the entrance to the retreat center’s common space.
It read, “Pilgrim there is no way. You make it by walking.”
As my time at the center was ending, I took a piece of paper and sketched a person walking and added the words from the banner. I folded up the piece of paper and put it in my wallet where it stayed until it, literally, feel apart one day.
Now, years later, more than ever, I understand the truth of the words on that banner.
We get there by walking.
All you or I can do…
The best you and I can do…
Is to continue walking in the direction of our best dreams and our bravest hopes.
To continue walking in the direction of promises of God which are meant for us and for all.
More than ever that is what I am trying to do.
So, I invite you to walk with me.
Allow my words to spark your reflections.
Add your thoughts.
Ask your questions.
Suggest a topic you would like me to think and write about.
Share our reflections with others as an invitation for them to join us, as well.
Pilgrim, there is no way.
Make it by walking.
P.S. My thanks to Michael Guyra and Justin Near of PokaYoke Design for their help and support in helping my new blog take its first steps forward.