Had a couple important thoughts come my way this past weekend that felt both timely and relevant. With my start at Springer Mountain just a few days away, all my planning is about to be tested against the reality of the trail. Tired legs, wet gear, new friends, missed intersections, low spirits, hunger cravings, hostel availability … so much can change the itinerary set for the days to come.The picture above popped up on Facebook from one of my favorite cartoonists, The Awkward Yeti. It couldn’t be more appropriate! I often think of myself as Heart in his comics … but this time it is Brain that hit home. Three days out, everything is set … now it’s time to relax and just take what the trail gives me. Hello Neiman!
Second, a huge thanks to my friend at Tenaciously Yours who shared the below poem with me. It offers some great wisdom… among other things, reminding me that the journey is more important than the destination. I’ve always shared that train of thought, and this poem was a beautiful reminder. Hello Neiman!
Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy
As you set out for Ithaka hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians, Cyclops, wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure, what joy, you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind – as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you’re old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn’t have set out. She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.