Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Defining the "Road"

One of my favorite authors, whom many of you may already know, wrote a sort of poem or song about the beginning of a journey. It goes as follows:

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

That author was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J.R.R. Tolkien) and the poem/song comes from the first book, The Fellowship of the Ring, from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and was sung by Bilbo Baggins. Now, you may think that I'm being silly for including a poem from the Lord of the Rings books, but consider the words and I can explain to you why they are important. 

Tolkien capitalizes the "Road" in the poem. I take the word "Road" to refer to the path or journey of life that we all take. If I can follow that path, I will follow it for as long as I can because I never know where death might lurk around some dark turn in the trail. Therefore, I must follow it "with eager feet." I know that this sounds morbid, but I think that at some point in our lives we all must consider the fact that we don't know how long we will live. This thought gives me the angst to live life to the fullest (Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – "Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future" from Horace) although there are many days when I do not live life to the fullest. 

My path joins with those of others and many meetings are made. Perhaps the largest crossing of paths will occur in the afterlife, but for now, many of my crossings are made with those around me. I am joined to the world both physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Those are the three fundamental ways in which, I believe, I could interact with the world and gain the most from it. I travel physically from place to place. Thoughts course through my mind with each and every interaction. What happens to me along the way sparks emotions both good and bad. At the end of each errand remains the biggest question that I face every day:  "whither then?"

The best answer I could possibly give is that "I cannot say."  Tolkien was spot on with this song!

I live in constant uncertainty, which makes me very anxious and causes me to spend time alone contemplating and thinking about the possibilities of the future. Many of which may never develop. I am trying to face this uncertainty. To attack it and stop the worry that prohibits me from moving forward in life. I am trying to accept things as they are and to remove the blockade that shuts my mind off during bouts of depression.

For all of the above reasons, I have decided to write more often. I am even contemplating a Writing major in college (which is a big shift from the 6 years I've spent intermittently as a Geography and Environmental Science major). The idea of focusing on nature writing and becoming a writer for a magazine or newspaper inspires me! 

For the moment, I feel my thoughts have run their course. I will leave you (and me) with this final thought quoted from Acceptance by Robert Frost (my favorite poet):

"...Now let the night be dark for all of me.
Let the night be too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be, be."

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