Sunday, September 22, 2013
©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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