[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
A long, short time ago, when religion still claimed my soul and clung desperately to my Sunday ramblings, I didn’t have to wonder what I’d be thinking about. I’d go to church, talk with a few people and listen to the sermon. Sermon: some lofty title for the pathetic offerings from the elevated platform. Still, with a great deal of effort I’d often find something of value to ruminate on, even if I had to add it in myself. Either that, or I’d have to admit I was wasting my time as if I had all the time in the world. And besides, there are many other ways to waste one’s life when one hasn’t yet discovered that life is a gift and is not only worth living, but to waste it is sacrilegious.
So this morning, being Sunday, and seeing as I’m free now to be me, not some clone of a System maintaining an obsolete view of the world, and after having a thoughtful look outside at the greenery and the heavy dark grey cloud announcing another possible day of cold rain, I’ve decided it was time to go for a long walk.
I’m going to set out now, and walk to that place where the earth’s curvature makes things disappear on the horizon. When I reach that horizon, I’m going to drive a post at that point, to mark it. That way, when I look again next time, I’ll know just how far that point is. And I’ll be reminded that I’d been there.
“The Road Goes Ever On” wrote Mr. Tolkien. A truism, certainly, but only true for those who travel that road, isn’t that so? A road may well go ever on, but of what value is that to the one who won’t get on it and walk it? “The Longest Journey Begins With A Single Step” is another worn out quote. But if that first step isn’t taken? I’ve often pondered the concept of that first step. Easy enough to take, I suppose. When there’s no goal, that first step will amount to nothing in the end, just a circular path around one’s little holding. That’s not a journey, at best it’s exercise on a treadmill.
Returning to my initial quest: to walk to the horizon. Silly, right? You could walk forever and still the horizon would remain to taunt and haunt. I could put that post in the ground anywhere, and it would always, or never, be on the horizon.
What’s my point? Simple. I need a goal to set out on the endless journey. It doesn’t have to involve saving the world (from itself? How preposterous!); it only needs to be a goal suitable to the quest; a goal that will continue to fuel and motivate the quest.
I used to think; I was convinced; that a life properly lived was a life whose motive was to do something “great” as compared to the rest of the world. Something that would set me apart from the rank and file. Ideally something that would leave a deep and great “mark” upon the fabric of society; something that would benefit millions, perhaps. When we are entering adult life, how many of us dream of becoming super heroes? Of living the greatest life ever? Many, I’d say, even if they never come right out and tell anyone. The dream is there, to be shortly filed, erased, shattered, by what the world likes to call reality.
Let’s use another overused quote: “There’s A Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow.” When I was young, I knew this was true. There was a pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow. At seventy years now, I know this is still as true now as it was then. The earth is full of real treasures, the ones you cannot find with backpacks, cameras, shovels, axes, and any sort of assorted machinery and technology. What is observed with the eyes, what can be touched or smelled, what is felled, what is ploughed, what is pumped and dragged out of the ground: those aren’t treasures. What can be displayed, piled, counted and sold: those are spoils, not treasures.
A treasure is by its very nature unattainable but sought with all of one’s power. That post I planted at the edge of the earth’s curvature this morning has a treasure under it. I know this because I sensed it. I heard it calling to me. And I was able to answer in the same language.
I’ll let you in on a secret regarding the endless road, the endless journey, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: the treasure you began seeking when you were born, and subconsciously if not openly continue to seek, is you.
To properly close, another overused quote: “To Thine Own Self Be True.”