Poetry Month, April 2018: Paths, for Exploration, for Life: 1 Poem & How to Choose Your Path
Follow your Path
Paths to places unknown beckon with twisting fingers.
Paths from places well-trodden feed your confident memory.
Paths from people well-loved teach your life’s parameters.
Paths to danger test your inner self.
To find out where those pathways lead
is innermost curiosity.
They may give joy and change our lives
or scarily test our capacity.
Infant paths we trod fearlessly
innocent and trusting all,
Since then paths have beckoned us;
some we flew, sometimes did fall.
Revisit those which mirror thoughts,
nothing feared, the green and red.
Mighty oaks o’er lush meadows,
autumn shades where leaves bled.
I took the tracks with Mum and Dad,
holding hands or leading the way.
Inheritance is my own memory,
paths of joy shout family.
The unknown territory, paths to try,
some seeming fun but many lied,
those paths were trying, shocking, hard
but taught me lessons, a switch-back ride.
Now later on those paths I tread
are threaded through with observation.
Those I lead find their own way,
I try earnestly to feed imagination.
They in turn show me the way
to learn and love and accept life.
Their paths are unknown just like mine
but I can guide, advise, avert the strife
as long as I am able to,
my goal to pass on what I’ve learnt
in the hope that they can see
the pitfalls so they don’t get burnt.
Paths to places beckon them,
paths from the past define their memory,
paths from those who love them well
protect them whilst teaching thoroughly.
May my blessed children follow their own path well.
May my innocent, blessed grandchildren make their own and trail blaze to success.
They are already on the right path.
Which pathways do you choose?
I’ve said a lot about paths, pathways, landmarks, especially around my beloved countryside of Sussex and Somerset.
We all choose our paths and make the most of what we find. It’s up to us to make the most of the paths we are shown, making educated guesses about where we might go and what we might find.
How do you choose?
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not. There are many who don’t choose wisely, some through their own fault but many because they have not been guided well, they have not been given the right advice, the correct lessons.
Our guardians and guides, be they parents, grandparents, whoever, have a hard job. There’s no manual on how to be the ideal parent. We learn by our own mistakes but sometimes it’s too late and consequences have been dire.
Path to my Childhood Home
The clue in that former paragraph is ‘educated guesses’. It would ease the problem if school were to help with this; sometimes it does, sometimes it is woefully inadequate. Given hypothetical choices to discuss would be a good idea, with no fixed answer because it depends on circumstance, time, opportunity. Merely exploring possibilities gives us some guidance, some preparation.
You don’t know which career to follow. You don’t know if the person asking you to marry him/her is the right one. In my experience, if you’re not sure, don’t do it - yet. Don’t dismiss it either. It might be that it’s not the right time. It might be that you need more knowledge, more life experience, that you need to look at more paths. Further along the journey, often, is where you will find the answers. You might discuss it with trusted friends, parents, mentors. You might ask for spiritual guidance.
New paths on the horizon
Paths can suddenly appear out of nowhere; dangerous ones, exciting ones, enticing ones or easy ones, trusted ones, familiar ones. Ever had a feeling that your life is going nowhere in particular, that you need inspiration, that you need impetus, that you need purpose? Then take that risk but take the path with a balance of risk and care. Be reasoned, measured, weigh the pros and cons, then decide how much risk you are prepared to take.
Hard or Smooth?
What are the clues? Well, ask yourself this:
Do you feel invigorated?
Do you feel challenged?
Do you feel worthy, able, even if it’s scary?
Then have a go! Do you have anything to lose? If not, go for it! If you have, is the losing worth it? Only you can decide but you will in all probability have a gut feeling which tells you the answer. Go with your gut feeling! Try it! If it doesn’t work, chalk it up to experience because either way you will have learnt something, something which gives you a better chance of better choices next time.
Follow the Track!
How about physical paths; concrete, tarmac, grassy, gravelled, windy, straight, flat, undulating, craggy? Do you enjoy following such paths to see what you can find?
Let’s take the concrete and tarmac paths; the ways of the towns and cities, the footways that lead you round the block, around the shopping arcades, between walls and high-rises. These are pre-determined, rigid, purposeful. Familiarity with them can be comforting to the city-dweller, challenging to those used to green fields and muddy tracks.
What about grass-flattened tracks across the fields, between the hedgerows, round the village? They are more arbitrary. They don’t always lead anywhere other than an open meadow or an abandoned dwelling.
Windy paths can lead you through the trees. You don’t know what’s around the next bend. Does that bother you or does that intrigue? The straight path is visible for some considerable distance, especially if the terrain is level. Is that tedious, liberating or compelling? If your path goes over hill and dale, gently taking you into beautiful pastures or asking you to deal with stony, craggy climbs, do you continue or do you turn back? As with the city adventures, are you comfortable with country scenery and walks or does the wide expanse unnerve you?
Historical Countryside & In TownClick thumbnail to view full-size
Roots & Attitude
Much of the answer depends on how or where you were brought up, what attitudes were your example and how you dealt with them.
I’m a country girl at heart because that’s where I was brought up. My parents encouraged walking, exploring, learning about plants, trees, country matters. I loved the greenery, the freedom and the fresh air. I still do.
I also feel stifled by exhaust-filled city breath, the noise and the bustle, but I understand that some feel at home in that environment and that is due to their own upbringing, experience and preference.
Sands by the Sea
We can all appreciate each other’s love of town or country, or at least we should. Experiencing both gives us a viewpoint, enables us to choose, enables us to approach both for what they are worth, for what we might need at certain times.
Without that knowledge, we cannot appreciate, we cannot understand, we cannot choose. Our choice of path involves that knowledge and experience but to obtain those things involves taking that first step, taking that risk, having the courage and the will to see what life can offer us down that particular path.
Which path are you comfortable with? Which path would you like to explore? Happy path-finding and happy exploration!