the way is made by walking

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the way is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road,
and upon glancing behind
one sees the path
that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road–
Only wakes upon the sea.

Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en la mar.

-Antonio Machado, “Proverbios y cantares XXIX” in Campos de Castilla

I had a dream last week:

I am on an island with a friend (I don’t recognize who it is in the dream, but she feels familiar, intimate). The island looks like one of the San Juans or Gulfs, thickly forested and misty. There are two parts to the island, one has a network of trails covering it, the other is just wilderness. My friend wants to take the trails and I insist we explore the other trail-less part of the island.

There are some deep shifts happening in me right now, longings that can no longer go ignored.  I awoke from this dream and smiled because it captured so well this place I find myself right now, standing at the edge of the pathless Way.  I’ve spent years exploring the established trails and the contours of those paths will help guide me now into the wilderness where I must make my own way simply by walking ahead and listening for where the invitation lies. 

What is the way that is calling you forward?  Where are you being invited off of the established trails of your life to seek the gifts of wild places wholly your own?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

(photo taken at Mt Rainier National Park this past summer)

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