The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Tolkien’s writing formed an integral part of my development into who I am today. It helped to open to me the wonders of fantasy, of language, and of writing. The Lord of the Rings is such a large work and hits on so many realities – friendship, duty, greed, lust, faith – to name only a few, that I always find something new to learn as I make my way through it again.
Right now, the poem above is speaking to me in a loud, clear voice. The Road is clearly both a reference to any physical path as well as, to my mind, a metaphor for our lives. My own road has taken many twists, turns and switchbacks, some painful, others unexpectedly joyous. Those turnings have formed me, molding me into the woman I am today.
Often, I have looked ahead to crossroads with dread. I’m not one who likes change or turmoil. Yet, through those paths, I have found knowledge. Knowledge is worth having, whether the gaining of it hurts or heals.
Looking into my near future, I see my Road taking a new turn. I’m traveling to England for two weeks. Wonderful! And scary! I love the concept of traveling, but I’ve never been particularly good at it. I get overwhelmed. I’m petrified of flying. When I’ve taken big trips like this before, I’ve been in a large group, and I get a bit claustrophobic.
This time, however, my only companion will be my husband. He knows what a mixed-up jumble of nerves and joy his wife can be, and I must assume he’s prepared to roll with whatever I throw his way.
And so, I’m feeling cautiously thrilled. I intend to come into this trip with my eyes, heart and mind ready to see, feel and learn everything they can take in. My Road is taking me away from my comfortable existence and setting me down in a place where I can gain knowledge – where I can pursue it with eager feet.
I’m excited to see where I will be when this part of my Road comes to a close. What changes will have become a part of me?
The only way to find out is to take that step out of the door.