Travels of Mind and Heart
For the past dozen or so years I’ve been on a constant journey. I’ve traveled virtually every day, from the Pacific North West to India. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been deeply immersed with the people, heard their stories, learned a little about their culture, shared their thoughts, connected with their dreams and visions, felt their pain, exulted in their joys.
Their stories have come to me on my daily journey, often in the hours just before sleeping, sometimes during the day, as a break from my normal routine or work and responsibility, of things needed to be tended to. I’ve been busy tending to my own soul which has expanded so much during this journey,that it now seems ready to burst out of its confines and take soaring to the air.
Sometimes there have been tears, sometimes an agonizing lurch as my heart, once again, breaks open. Often there are laughs, more often smiles. My heart warms and my spirit glows. There are times of anger, especially when I encounter the ongoing saga of man’s inhumanity to man, the suffering of innocent children, the isolation and alienation that seems to be so all pervasive.
I love these journeys that began so many years ago, when I was a child just learning to read. By the time I was five, I was reciting from memory the epic poetry from William Wordsworth Longfellow that my father used to read to me from the black leather covered book of poetry. I knew of the adventures of the Skeleton in Armor as he told his story, of the wrath of the stormy seas in the Wreck of the Hesperus, of the chilling voice of the Raven and the memories of the lost Lenore.
For many years, I immersed myself in the material things of the world, taking care of children, building homes, businesses that started out as dreams, as ways of being where I wanted to be. There was real adventure, incredible scenery, losses that forever tied me to others who also suffered their own. And there were boundless joys that have never receded as the anxieties and tensions have done. Although I was still reading some, there no longer was the imperative to make the journeys I so loved through the written word. I was too busy creating my own story.
That story continues, and will as long as there is breath within the body. But the stories, the ones written by others and read by me, feed my soul virtually every day now. I’m constantly on this journey that takes me to other lands, accompanying the characters that have been created through the written word, people and places that take on the reality of the imagination, rich and powerful.
There are always differences, as we know exist, between people, landscapes, culture, weather, circumstances and psychological interiors. But, always, I’m reminded of the common threads that reoccur through countless ways of telling about them all.
Often, I experience the exquisite phenomenon of putting down a book and coming back to my own reality, richer and more open. The birds sing with greater range, the mountain tops are reminders of the unmoving quality of that which endures. The sun shines brighter or the cloudy day seems to hold a certain depth of feeling. The day is more precious and everything seems more noticeable, as if seeing for the first time, with that special feeling of freshness.
This is the journey that I love and cherish, that enriches me, that expands my horizons, that adds a measure of wisdom, that feeds my soul. There is no way that I could ever travel as I do through the written word. There is no way I could every meet all these others, hear their stories, share their ways except through these travels made by the mind and the heart.