Near the end of the last day of my three day solo (with Mocha, a chocolate lab) walk in the woods I emerged from the woods after a long, hard assent and came upon a wonderful vista of the Loyalsock Canyon. The site was accessible by car and there was a young family with two children and grandparents taking in the view. They all seemed strangely surprised and slightly amused when they learned that I had been walking for three days. The father said, “I really need to do that.” “Just do it!” I replied pleadingly. Meanwhile the grandfather was complaining about how the battery on his camera was dead.
I was whelmed with gratitude that I accepted my soul’s invitation to take the journey into the woods leaving the ordinary world behind for a time.
This is what I want to teach my children: Do not settle for an ordinary life but heed the call to adventure that cannot be had in any other way except getting up and going into the “woods”.
Then I remembered Rilke:
Sometimes a man rises from the supper table
and goes outside. And he keeps going
because somewhere to the east there’s a church.
His children bless his name as if he were dead.
Another man stays at home until he dies,
stays with plates and glasses.
So then it is his children who go out
into the world, seeking the church that he forgot.
Book of Hours II,19