It is 10:56 p.m. in this very quiet, dark house on this very quiet, dark island. We go to bed early around here; the restaurants close up by 9:00, the taverns by 11:00 or 12:00, depending on who’s still sitting at the bar. I decided, out of the blue, that this was the night that I would begin that blog I’ve been talking about for the last six months or so.
Out of the blue.
Just like that.
It was time.
While I’ve been in my head about the whole thing for months—what do I say, who do I say it too, what if no one reads it, what if people actually read it, what if I sound foolish, what if I start and the whole project peters out (which many projects I take on tend to do), what if . . . what if . . . what if. And tonight, out of the blue, just like that, with no thought, no hesitation, no what ifs, my gut said, “Okay. It’s time.” The only thing I knew before I started typing was—I wanted to address the title: The shiftless wanderer meanders.
No outlines. No rough draft. No preparations. No thing except a thread that leads from my gut out onto the page/blank screen and from there out into the world. The wanderer. The words as wanderers. A sort of meandering, looping-around-itself kind of path that will lead who knows where. As a matter of trust, we’re just going to follow the thread of words, follow the path.
We’re going to wander. Do we dare. . . ?
Do we dare to just meander along, with no set destination planned, nothing packed for the journey, no three ounce travel sized toiletries fit neatly into the quart sized plastic ziplock bag? Do we dare to wander this way and that, hither and thither? Wasting our precious time?! Gasp.
Yes. We do dare. Because in this day and age, this is the lesser risk. We would be fools not to take the dare. In this day and age when the ubiquitous Mapquest/GoogleMaps/ YahooMaps/ BingMaps/MapsOnUs and handy-dandy GPS instruments (my husband calls his “Doris”) tell us exactly how to get from point A to point B in the shortest time possible and getting lost is not a possibility, we would be lost if we didn’t take the risk of setting off on a journey without a map, without a destination, without an arrival time, and without packing our neat and tidy bag.
The pun is intended. Sometimes knowing exactly where we are situated can be quite dangerous. Sometimes being exquisitely safe can be the most vulnerable state in which we find ourselves. Certainty and security are often accompanied by complacency. Apathy follows complacency. And cynicism is often times not too far behind apathy. Once we’re complacent, apathetic, and cynical—well, all bets are off at that point. We are left wide open to all kinds of dangers. We are no longer on our guard, no longer alert, aware, paying attention, and sometimes, we are no longer alive. Getting lost, in this case, is the desired state.
This is an invitation to step out into the world geared with only our hearts, our guts, and our finely tuned senses that were gifted to us the day we were born in all of our animal glory. Let us dare to become wanderers in this place we call home. Let us take the bigger risk to be shiftless in our wandering—to take our precious time, to linger over trifles, to kneel before what is awful and awesome, to take each other’s hand with care and presence when we reach the difficult parts of the road. This is an invitation for us all to be Shiftless Wanderers.