Saturday, January 25, 2014

The less-travelled life's "fertile edges".

"The time has come", the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax,
Of cabbages, and kings,
And why the sea is boiling hot,
And whether pigs have wings."
- Lewis Carroll

Quite impossible to resist! :)
It's really been awhile since we've posted! Here, on Canada's "Pacific Island", sea kayaking is a 12-month-of-the-year activity, as are other outdoor pursuits such as running, hiking, and biking. So it's not that there haven't been outdoor activities on which to reflect....but there has been a lot to think about and ponder of late.

These past months, we've felt that the time had come for us to follow the example of the Walrus, "to talk of many things " and take seriously the whole matter of journeying to some of those "fertile edges" in life - while there's still time, and energy! When our son was very young, he shared with us that he was "growing up". He also offered his considered opinion that we, his parents, were "growing down". We all had a good laugh together - but the "growing down" didn't sound very positive. Our son may have been suggesting that, in his eyes, we had become much too serious...and predictable! I think it was then that we decided we would do everything possible to continue to grow "up" - no matter how old we were. The process of growing up suggests discovery and exploration, a willingness to risk, and to maintain a childlike curiosity about what's "around the corner".

On a favourite Island running route, there is a weathered marker, its fading letters partially obscured by the tall grasses. The wooden signpost points the way to "a trail less travelled".

It calls out, as a gentle invitation to explore what had been previously missed. To take that path may mean having to run further to reconnect with the familiar path back to the trailhead. Or maybe it would simply end, at which point there would be a need to backtrack to the sign. Wherever it leads, however, its call is irresistible.

There is something about the familiar "trails" in life - it's often tempting to stay on them, and we often do. They are known, and so they are comfortable. The "pitfalls" and tricky parts, the rocks and roots, are predictable. Those spots can be avoided. At the very least, we know they are coming. Since they are well travelled, we can be a bit casual about our preparations. We are, therefore, sometimes ill-prepared for surprises.

Unfamiliar trails, however, spark the imagination and give rise to that delicious feeling of anticipation. You never know for sure what may be over the crest of the hill or beyond (or "in"!) the next mud hole. A heightened sense of adventure opens doors to fresh possibilities and all these things nourish the spirit and challenge hearts and minds.

We have often found, over time, that the "trails" less travelled in life, promise and deliver on some of the richest and deepest of experiences. When we've chosen those paths, there has never been a moment of regret. Such signposts, as these, are tucked in and hidden amidst life's tall grasses. To follow their call, often leads to a "fertile edge". It is there that adventure, freshness, and the fullness of experience so often await.

And in the journey that will begin shortly, we may well discover, amongst other things, "why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings". At the very least, remembering our son's wise observation when he was very young, we will endeavour to do all that we can to ensure that life is an adventure-filled process...of growing "up". :)


  1. Exploring new trails is always exciting. I hope this next journey provides you with many amazing experiences...just don't become too grown up ;)

  2. Haha! Thank you for that, L. No worries, the "child" within will always be allowed full expression - as you well know. ;) Cheers, D.

  3. Hi D & J, how right you are; the "road less travelled" will always be a better trail than the "road not taken" - even if occasionally the signpost might read "Lost" ! :o)

    Best wishes

  4. Haha! Thanks for that, Ian. And we can actually say that we were with you and Linda when we almost got close to "Lost". :) Warm wishes to you both from Joan and I. Duncan.