Tolkien’s right, not all those who wander are lost.
I remind my husband of this fact every time my directions lead us down some unplanned road. Literally or metaphorically.
Planning is great. The best laid plans often get us right where we want to go. Not always, mind you, but if you know where you’re headed and you have a plan, you’re much more likely to arrive.
But sometimes I wonder what we miss along the way, with our hyperfocused goals, plans, and projects.
Our wanderings can bring beauty into our lives.
To be honest, I’m a wanderer at heart. I love to get lost in books, in the woods, in a new town. It might be a little scary sometimes, but that’s where I make wondrous discoveries.
- The bits of poetry in Cassandra Clare’s prose. “They had drifted slowly on the dark water, like the towers of a drowned white city.” (Clockwork Angel)
- An emerald garter snake sunning on a wilderness path. I tucked it in my backpack to show the kids after school. They loved it.
- The little bakery in Verona, Italy, where la Signorina laughed at my broken Italian, and served me cannoli. The narrow alleys clogged with motorbikes and shadowed by towering old-world apartments, laundry hanging from balconies, flower boxes in windows.
I could’ve skipped a few novels and met a few more self-imposed deadlines. I could’ve kept to the road and missed that glittering snake. I could’ve stayed in the hotel, waiting for my husband to finish his conference.
But I’m a wanderer. I just can’t help it. And my life is richer for it.