Song of the Open Road


 

Song of the Open Road

 

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Health, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

 

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.

 

The earth, that is sufficient,

I do not want the constellations any nearer,

I know they are very well where they are,

I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

 

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,

I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,

I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,

I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

 

You air that serves me with breath to speak!

You objects that call from diffusion my meanings

and give them shape!

You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!

You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!

I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.

 

All seems beautiful to me,

I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me

I can repeat over to men and women,

I will recruit for myself and you as I go,

I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,

I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,

Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,

Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.   —excerpted from Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

 

 

Acrylic painting of courtyard in the French Quarter. Painted and copyrighted 2009

Acrylic painting of courtyard in the French Quarter. Painted and copyrighted 2009 by Barbara Mattio

 

 

 

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The Bahamas. Photograph taken and copyrighted 2013

The Bahamas. Photograph taken and copyrighted 2013

 

 

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Bumps Along the Way


Photo by Barbara Mattio 2012


Photo by Barbara Mattio  2012

I am on a journey. We all are on journeys. You go along for awhile and step after step you move toward the future. You live in the moment and keep your mind positive and forward thinking. At times the road goes up and at times it descends. The flat regular surfaces of our journeys are the easy bits whether we are seeking our goals or pursuing a new fork in the road. We can even become complacent and think it will stay this way always. And then one day we start out and “Oops” we have an incline. Some days we have an incline and potholes. These make for tough days. I find for me it is best to remember that this road I am on is neither all bumps or all straight flat surface. Faith is needed for this because when you look all around and all you see are hillocks and pits it can feel pretty scary and uncertain. Most of us human being don’t do uncertainty very well. I do admit I know some people who thrive on it but I haven’t figured out a way to do that. Then we have the forks in the road. Which to take? Decisions to make. You look one way and then another and sometimes you flip a coin. Sometimes, there seems to be inner guidance trying to get our attention. Now another decision. Listen or ignore. From years of experience, I usually listen. I can’t say that I do 100% of the time, but I am a work in progress. Now when the potholes appear, I slow down, and I breath deep. I know they aren’t just going to go away; but I can choose to handle them better than I used to do.
Usually bumps coincide with emotional challenges or lessons we have yet to learn. I am getting better at not panicking and remembering to trust. Trust is not one of my best accomplishments. Now that I have experienced the connection of my soul and Divinity, I am improving because I know, just know I am not alone. The Beloved gives us something else that has helped me greatly along the path and that is beauty. Divine beauty is everywhere. I use it to recharge my batteries,so to speak. It can be a garden, the ocean, the mountains, the scent of the air. All bring me back to the Divinity that is within me. Then I can take another step and another until I no longer see the bumps and only see the Divine creation around me.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting-a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo by Barbara Mattio 2010