Sunday, September 22, 2013

Uncharted Territory

Uncharted Territory
©2013 Susan Noyes Anderson

Our path was charted back when we were young:
Work hard. Raise up a family. Make a home.
Four children later, we lived on the run––
housebound but happy, not inclined to roam.

Adventure was the fuel that ran our days.
We did not lack for anything we needed.
Our young regaled us in a thousand ways.
(Blithe getaways were easily conceded.)

The challenges were vast, the blessings grand.
Years swept through like a river, smoothing stone,
depositing rare treasures in the sand,
bright bits of pain and pleasure ours to own.

We gathered these together, held them near,
looked up at the great tree our love had made,
and knew that it was good. Our way was clear.
The time had come to step beyond its shade.

Before us rolled the map of sights unseen,
of trips untaken, mountains yet unscaled.
The world was ours to wander, every dream
within the reach of plane or train or sail.

But living is capricious at its best.
The best-laid plans will often go amiss.
This woman’s health has failed the travel test.
This man would see the world and find his bliss.

Cross-purposes. Our needs pull us apart,
terrain that must be charted with the heart.
New territory hedges up our way,
but we will navigate it, come what may.


“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands; and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

My husband has worked hard all of his life, putting our needs before his own. Recently retired, his half-fulfilled dream is to hike all of our national parks and do some of the same abroad. He and I are both nature-lovers. Sadly, strenuous outdoor trips are no longer compatible with my health. This is a source of great sorrow for both of us, especially my husband, who would love to share these things with me and is disappointed on those occasions when I can’t accompany him. (Count me in, though, when the lodge has a good view!)

Anyway, my feelings of sadness at letting him down prompted this poem, which began as a sort of bittersweet lament but ended with a reminder to myself that we have seen and conquered worse problems than this one. And while journeying through the national parks in tandem may be beyond our reach, journeying through life together is something we do rather well.

Go and explore. Wherever you are,
I’ll find you underneath a star.
When you return, I’ll love you more,
wrapped up in all your mountain lore.

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Jocelyn Christensen said...

Aw! You haven't let him down, I'm sure!!! Your words take all of us on many trips that we normally wouldn't have gone alone!

Brian Miller said...

i know he would rather do them with you...i am glad though that you allow him to do them either that is love as well...and the moments of our journey that we walk apart make the coming back together all the sweeter too...smiles.

VK said...

What a beautiful take on life. There are things we can't plan for and others that we would not want to plan for but end up being the brightest spots.
Wonderful that you and he are each others bright spots.

Amy said...

This is simply lovely. Life really is such an adventure and ridiculously unpredictable beautiful journey. Not being able to reach your goals after working so hard for them would be such a disappointment. But what a lovely take you have on it! Here's to many national park visits that are easy or can be done with a car!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Oh Sue my heart goes out to you and your sweet hubby. I am so sorry your health is keeping you from some of the adventures but know your not letting him down.
I have always loved reading your writing and especially the devotion so clearly shown through in your writing for your family.
Your loved dearly and I will keep you in my prayers that you can travel to more beautiful places with your sweetie.
Love ya

yaya said...

I'm going through similar upset knees have been giving me fits and I was a big walker and planned on doing much more of it. I have some decisions to make about it and it would be great if I could get back on the trail again. I do hope your health can let you enjoy as much time outdoors with hubby as possible. Getting older isn't all it's cracked up to be!

Momza said...

Travelling with you, anywhere, is surely a joy to your sweet man. No doubt he knows this. It is the journey, not the destination that brings us joy...someone famous said that.

Nancy said...

Perhaps a meeting in the middle would be possible so both of you can enjoy? Just a thought. Great post as usual Sue. xo

Grandma Honey said...

I hear you. But like I tell myself, I can only do what I can do. It hurts though to want to please the ones we love. Maybe you will both discover a new adventure. Perhaps one closer to home?

~T~ said...

There are so many kinds of adventures to have. Enjoy what you can!

Friko said...

This is a lovely poem, Sue. We never grow old at the same speed and one of us is left behind.

For us it’s the other way round, my husband no longer feels like travelling and he encourages me to pack my bag and take off. I haven’t yet felt like leaving him but maybe I will some time. But itjust isn’t the same without a dear partner.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I bet God has something equally fun for you two to do together.

LeAnn said...

I know exactly how you feel. My dear husband is still working way to hard for his age and should retire. He keeps hanging on hoping to be more secure in our retirement. Today, I told him if he dies on me I won't forgive him. I want more time together regardless of where that might take us.
I would say enjoy traveling with him and when you can't do the hike you can wait and write. Sounds good to me!
Blessings dear friend!

karen said...

That's beautiful, Sue. I know how you feel - I certainly couldn't hike through any national parks either. LaMar is still working, so we'll see what shape we're in when we're both ready to retire. What I think is nice is that you and Dave have done many things before this time, and haven't passed up opportunities in order to wait "for later." Because you never know what "later" will bring. Do what you can, WHEN you can. Hope you are feeling as good as you possibly can.

EG CameraGirl said...

It's hard to know when we are young what life has in store for us. Sad for some of us who would like to plan wisely and pack as much of what life has to offer into the time we've got. (At least that's our human perspective.)

So you have reached a roadblock? Hmmm. You have a creative mind that makes fabulous use of inspiration. I bet that roadblock is trying to tell you something. :)

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