On narrow, one-track English, Irish, Scottish, and Orcadian roads, there are passing places: small semi-circular areas cut into the hedge or berm, where one vehicle can pull to the side to allow an on-coming vehicle to pass. There is a gesture of thanks that goes with this — the on-coming driver uncurls the fingers of the driving hand from around the steering wheel (using the palm to steer) and tilts them in salute. The driver who has paused responds with the same gesture.
This piece is dedicated to Roddy Hamilton (see Risking Life), who reminds me that risks are for taking.
There is the moment in life
when, striking out on one’s own –
as if there is an “own” to strike out on,
a separate journey
where there is no companionship
or guidance –
you head for arriving.
There is a moment of leaving,
carrying the family baggage
filled with the household gods,
random bits of wisdom,
and admonitions to wear your boots.
So you go, shedding
planning to arrive one day at Yourself
where you will build a house or a tabernacle.
You listen to the silence
which you think may be, Yes.
Yes, this is the place. You are here.
Until you realize it isn’t and you aren’t
and you strike out again.
Because the world expects you to arrive…
at least, assuming you are
anybody important, interesting, valuable…
And when you arrive, the world
(the small part of it that knows your name)
sends an e-card, or drinks a toast,
to mark your arrival.
So I set out years ago,
traveling like Sarai,
picking up my Avram on the way,
carrying precious blueprints close to my heart —
ready for the day
I would layer rocks and corbel the roof –
for the day I arrived.
I, who love to nest and tend a garden,
I never dreamed that I would wander
down all these years,
only to hear, finally: This is it.
This wandering is all.
Home is only this: the imprint of footfall….here, now.
And again (here, now) without cease.
Meanwhile, the passing places are full of folks
navigating by satellite rather than star;
and some – discontent and impatient –
pausing for me to get out of their way;
me, the one with no destination and no map
and no need.
Sometimes there is acknowledgment,
an upcurled salute.
It is enough.
Text © 2015, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015 Immram Chara, LLC
NOTE: The first photo is one of the oldest armillaries in existence. An armillary shows the rotation of the planets in relation to one another. This one is in its original case at Dunham Massey in England. It was made by Thomas Wright between 1740 and 1760.