Saturday, July 8, 2023

Thinking about hitting the road, while also appreciating home


Yes, yes, yes, my feet are itching to travel!

And yet, at heart, I'm a nester.

My home is where my heart is, surrounded by things I love - including photos and memories of past travels.  Souvenirs gathered and placed on a shelf, to be randomly picked up over the years to remind me of a moment in time, far far away.  A moment in a place at a time that may have changed me in some way.  Had me reaching for Donald's hand, to share a smile.

For the Traveler

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you

                         - - - John O'Donohue

He who becomes the slave of habit,
who follows the same routes every day,
who never changes pace,
who does not risk and change the color of his clothes,
who does not speak and does not experience,
dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion,
who prefers black on white,
dotting ones i's rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer,
that turn a yawn into a smile,
that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings,
dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,
who is unhappy at work,
who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
die slowly.

He who does not travel, who does not read,
who does not listen to music,
who does not find grace in himself,
she who does not find grace in herself,
dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,
who does not allow himself to be helped,
who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops,
dies slowly.

He or she who abandons a project before starting it, who fails to ask questions on subjects he doesn't know, he or she who doesn't reply when they are asked something they do know,
dies slowly.

Let's try and avoid death in small doses,
reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead
to the attainment of a splendid happiness

             - - -  Martha Medeiros 

And, on the other side of the travel coin, we have this, lest we forget the joys of home ❤ -

Billy Collins


How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon’s
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyed camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

From The Art of Drowning (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995).

For more words about travel and life, click here

" . . . They represent a wide variety of views and are taken from different time periods. They raise questions, share the joys of travel, and remind us to not take it for granted. Enjoy!"

Me, on the road

at home,

in Boone, NC


Kathy Reel said...

Kaye, before Kevin's death, I found such joy in learning new things and going places I'd never been before. Heck, I found joy just watching the birds in the yard. Now that the worst that could ever happen to me has happened, I fear that slow death of not being able to appreciate the beauty in life. I fear I'll never "squeeeeeeeeeee" at something again. I don't even know when or if I'll be able to read again. But, your post shows clearly the joy to be found in traveling and in the familiar. I will work on that.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Dearest Kathy, sister of my heart. You will "squeeeee" again, and you will feel joy again. When your heart is ready, Kevin will help because he knows that's who you are; a woman of joy who passed that love of joy, of laughter, on to him. And you have so so many friends who need to hear that beautiful laugh of yours that we have all come to expect from you, share with you. It will come, when your heart is ready. And all of us who love you will help - when your heart is ready. Love you to the moon and back, dear one. ❤

Lesa said...

Kaye, I really came to the comments to say how much I love John O'Donoghue's "For the Traveler". It's beautiful.

Then, I read Kathy's note, and your response. Your answer is written with such love and compassion.

Sending you love, my sister.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

That O'Donoghue poem is new yo me. I love it too, Lesa.

Thank you for your sweet words, you always have them for us when we're in need. We "sisters" do a pretty good job of holding one another up when we need to, I think. I'm grateful and thankful for my sister girls. They are few, but mighty. ❤

Love you back.