Alternate Routes

I’ve never been able to drive on the highway.   The handful of times I’ve had to, my heart races and my chest tightens from the moment I enter the merge lane.  There’s an overload of speed and motion.  So when I need to be the driver, I look for other ways to get where I need to go.  The back route to my hometown, London, is beautiful.   Since my kids were born I’ve been taking them on unhurried drives past Brantford, Woodstock, and Thamesford to visit their grandparents and childhood friends.  The roads run past fields and farm markets.  There’s always room to stop for a closer look.

My son has mapped his own set of alternate routes over the years.   He has needed extra support in his development.   The more slow time he had for learning to talk, to read, understand how things work, the more likely the right neuropathways would open up so things made sense.  Extra time to make meaning.  My daughter is finding her own go-rounds too.  Starting high school last fall, she was hurtling down the social media highway.  Now she’s realizing that ultimately it’s a road to nowhere.

I’ve been thinking that if finding less travelled roads becomes habitual, a way of adapting over time, then at some point the adaptation can become the preference.  It becomes the primary way.
 Maybe there’s a community of path-walkers out there.  I like the idea that there are countless people at this moment, setting out on an underused path that winds and meanders.

Maybe this space will become a highway of sorts for me.

“As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.”  – Rumi


For Amy

Down a forest trail, the miracle of soft spring air floats us towards something familiar.
You walk ahead.
Then stop, look up.  Gracious boughs reach down from your childhood climbing tree.  
An invitation.
Back to tree time.
You accept and climb.
You listening now as the breeze stirs thought from depths – bringing back things forgotten,  
Precious things only you can hear,
A soft tug pulling at your roots.
Sun-dappled, creek-soaked and rain-scented – you receive memories of girlhood as they move up easily
On this strong branch where you found your voice.
Where you shouted unhindered by the clamp of adolescence
Where you invented, sang, dreamed stories of mermaids.
What pulses through you now gives strength.
The alchemy of quiet and dandelion filaments airborne conjures a memory-wash,
Fortifying your soul 
As you rest your softness on the strength of an oak.
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