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