Sometimes I feel I have more to say when less has happened in my life, perhaps because I prefer gentle contemplation to sifting through massive amounts of facts, information and events, most of which I find unimportant in most respects. Unimportant in the sense that when all is said and done, it seems what matters in the end has little to nothing to do with such things, or what society may tell us is worth speaking of.
What I find myself writing about is quite a long ways from what I should be mentioning, I suppose, for it is of little importance in this world. I can hardly myself however, for there is something in the ‘ordinary’ that will always draw me in, something quite extraordinary in the simple and unnoticed corners of this earth.
All that to say, it has been a very busy month filled with a great many things that have failed to bait my pen. They all ought to have, but I have learned never to force stories that do not want to be told.
And so I have only one unlikely story to tell today. It begins at a jungle in Wailuku somewhere, a place I do not know the name of because I tend to forget such details. My friends and I had been hiking for some time on a trail about a foot and a half wide, maybe, most of which was made of dirt and/or mud. Some locals in the area had suggested we veer off the normal trail documented on some map and go for a bit more of an adventure along an unmarked trail. I couldn’t have been more delighted by this notion, and my friends did not disagree.
Trees and foliage alongside and above our heads were so dense, there were times we could not see the sky or anything much to left or right, and the further in we got the denser it became. After a few hours we were half covered in mud, as the ‘trail’ became less of a trail and more like a muddy slip-in-slide with branches and cliffs and hedges along the way. Twas glorious, and when it did open up it was like paradise.
At some point I became separated from the others, having gone into my ‘zone’ (as I tend to do in my happiest and most painful moments) and had pulled further ahead than I had intended. Noticing that I was alone, I decided to stop for a moment and enjoy the beauty around me.
As I sat there, I listened to the trees and the leaves and water breath, and was as content and peaceful as I could imagine being. Suddenly, I was struck by a thought I could not rid myself of, one that has come to me often before but never so abruptly. We began this trail with the intention of finding where it ended, discovering where it might lead. Regardless of whether or not we found that ‘end’, the journey itself was the experience, not the destination. Even if we knew (or thought we knew) where we were going, that is not why I came……I came for the journey.
Life is that way I think, though I often wonder if we forget that and begin focusing so hard on getting there that we fail to live at all. There will always be another there to get to, but the in-between, the journey from point A to point B is what life is made up of. If you wait to breath and live during the journey, you’ll miss most life, and what a tragedy that would be. When we look back upon our lives, the mountaintops we deem so important may not be what we remember or hold dear to our hearts.
As Earnest Hemingway so rightly put it, “It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”