Day Eleven … On The Road And With The Poem

Uh oh.  I’m falling way behind.  It’s the morning [now afternoon] of Day Thirteen and I’m trying to remember Day Eleven.  I’ll do my best.

I left the home of Isabelle and Bruce and headed west towards Banff National Park, then north on the Banff-Jasper Highway, west from Jasper into BC, and north to my home-away-from-home: McBride.  Gosh, that was a lot of driving.

I was stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway approaching Banff.  How can this be?  I’m surrounded by picturesque foothills and towering cliffs.  Out in the middle of nowhere breathing in exhaust.  Once we got going again, several sights beckoned me.  First was this multi-coloured van with a black and white peace sign on the hood.  The back end and the left side were festooned with words and paintings that were extremely … sexual.  Since this is a family show, I won’t give you the details but it was astonishing to see.  Whoever the driver was, I’m sure that his or her mom won’t be riding in that van anytime soon.

Then there were the wire fences – six feet tall.  The divided highway was a corridor through all those trees, with the fences blocking animals from crossing.  All this to serve human beings?  It was eerie to drive through.  Every ten kilometres or so, I’d approach twin tunnels over the road.  The route above them dipped down in the middle and was covered with trees.  It wasn’t an intersecting road for cars.  This was for deer and moose and bears to get where they were going.  Okay.  Far better than not accessing the other half of their world.

I passed beside glaciers shining in the sun, wide river flats boasting the most exquisite aquamarine waters, and an infinite number of Jody’s trees, mostly coniferous folks reaching for the sky.  But it felt strange.  I stopped when there was a cool view to take pictures.  But I felt like an ordinary tourist, driving forever, stopping for a photo and then driving forever again.  No context.  No real relationship to what I was seeing, no walking in the trees … sort of empty.  Oh well.

Before leaving Isabelle and Bruce, we sat down for breakfast.  As we were sipping our coffee, Isabelle pulled out a book.  “I have a poem for you, because you’re a traveller.”  I’d like to share it with you.  It speaks to me as I wander from human being to human being.  Thank you, Isabelle.

To Bless The Space Between Us

Every time you leave home
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in

New strangers on other paths await
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way
More attentive now
To the self you bring along
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice
Opening a conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way

When you travel
A new silence
Goes with you
And if you listen
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say

A journey can become a sacred thing
Make sure, before you go
To take the time
To bless your going forth
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you

May you travel in an awakened way
Gathered wisely into your inner ground
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you

May your travel safely, arrive refreshed
And live your time away to its fullest
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you