I’m glad you’ve found your way here.
This road, which runs past our home, has been such a familiar part of my day for many years now that I too often to fail to notice how beautiful it is. It’s something of a challenge, I find, to stay wide awake to these things.
Every so often, though, I can’t help but pay attention. Just the other week, a young deer began walking patrol on this stretch of road. Tired of this winter’s sustained deep snow in these hill towns, it had apparently reached its limit and taken up temporary residence on the road, hoping to find some food.
In a few weeks – really, it’s already begun – the road will become a sea of mud. Some years it becomes impassable, and folks will leave their cars in impromptu parking spaces at day’s end and walk the last half-mile to their homes until the road firms up again. Some swear there are vehicles from years past that are fully submerged never to be seen again. We can’t prove it of course, but it’s a story we like to tell, and one that is altogether believable if you hear it during the right week.
Another time Clare and I were walking one evening and came face to face with a good-sized black bear who (we were relieved) seemed altogether disinterested in hearing about our day.
These things wake me up and for a while after these experiences I travel up and down the road, in my vehicle or especially when I’m on foot, more fully poised to be astonished or grateful. Or maybe both.
Maybe that’s why these words by W. Somerset Maugham spoke to me, reading them as I did after my morning walk. “Sometimes we hit upon a place to which we mysteriously feel that we belong.” Feeling fully awake and at home in our world, in our work, in our own lives, is a powerful and lovely experience. And not at all a given.
It’s good to travel these roads in the company of others. There are times when a little support can make the journey feel more hospitable and, even with (or sometimes because of) its surprises and challenges, worth traveling.
So welcome here. Welcome to the journey. I hope you’ll feel at home (and fully awake) on the road. Even when we’re knee-deep in mud.