Sunday, April 10, 2011

Song of the Open Road

I’ve always treasured the well-known Walt Whitman poem. Here’s an exerpt:


Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.         

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.


The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

In fact, I used to keep a copy of the poem in my glove box and read it often when I was on the road (and more often when I wasn’t).

With some unexpected down-time today, I took a longer bike ride than usual. As always, the logjam in my cranium was blasted apart by the “slow thinking” that a mental time-out brings. Slow (creative) thinking unlike fast (analytical) thinking opens one's mind - a mind that must be gasping for air sometimes. But our fast-paced lives leave little time to indulge in this seldom-traveled but enriching cognitive path. This process is akin to reflection (the focus of my dissertation, BTW).


Note:  for an interesting book about the slow living movement, I recommend In Praise of Slowness 

So, as the poem was sucked into the vacuum of my conciousness, I pedaled and reflected on the words. I realized I identify with it more now than ever. I, too, am ready to be done with “indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms.”
I’m definitely feeling the pressure of completing my doctorate in 27 months. A grinding pressure that has resulted in a low-grade chronic stress. I long to "postpone no more". 

My impatience to take a break in order to gain some perspective mounts as I faithfully read the blogs of the "strong and content". Barbara - who after much dreaming got the RV meant for her; Sassy – the reliably delightful hog-rider currently exploring the Carmel coast; Glenn - the composer who seeks inspiration wherever he and his cat Emily happen to be at the moment; Brian - spending a glorious day recently at the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. And Judy - the quiet activist who is a devoted volunteer at wildlife refuges across the country.  She lives her values everyday.   

I’ve considered renaming my blog or even closing it down until I’m actually traveling.  But I probably won’t because I need something to keep me on track until I, too, am afoot and lighthearted.

6 comments:

  1. Ah yes, Afoot and lighthearted, I take to the open road...

    Hope you can come join us soon. :)

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  2. Oh, please don't close down your blog. The part of the journey that you are on now is just as rich as the road journey will be. I can relate to your low-grade stress. Higher education has a way of doing that to the student. I want to take a look at In Praise of Slowness. I think it might be what I need to get better at.

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  4. Don't you dare close down your Blog !! Keep your dream alive and keep us posted on your progress.

    I thought of a new Blog name if you decided to do that - "Kimbo in Limbo" - 'cause that's the impression I got when I read your post.

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  5. LOL! I am in Limboland! And ready to flee .....! I've thought alot about it and I may have lost my savings motivation and now need to shift priorities. Refocus. Reframe. Hmmmm... sounds like a blog post to me!

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  6. Kim - I went through the same thing twice, but found I didn't feel as connected to the RVing community when I wasn't blogging, just reading other blogs. I loved reading the blogs of people who started before they got their rigs, they were like a roadmap to me.

    I hope you don't quit - just blog when you feel like it. You've got a lot on your plate right now, but we love hearing about your life, especially since you are almost ready to purchase an RV. I bought mine 4 to 5 months earlier than I planned, just because I found the right one. You never know...

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