“The wise man knows that it is better to sit on the banks of a remote mountain stream than to be emperor of the whole world.” ― Zhuang Zhou
We anticipate what we believe we’ll find in the world, when we get out there to meet it. There’s a level of understanding that comes with experiencing first-hand the grandeur of this planet. We humans have our quietly persistent bucket lists that range from Paris to Machu Picchu to the Grand Canyon to the Appalachian Trail. We hear that siren question us: When will we listen and finally go?
I may sound like a one-trick pony at times, writing about such things as wanderlust and the urgency of now. But I’m just as content walking in an old forest nearby, walking across landscapes that have changed or stubbornly remained the same with the history of this continent. There is an entire world to see within throwing distance of wherever we are at this moment.
Restlessness may be the soul telling us we haven’t arrived quite yet. Then again, it may mean that we haven’t seen what is right in front of us yet. To fully savor life we must learn to pause and see the richness of the world wherever we are. That doesn’t mean we’ve arrived where we are meant to go, but we’ll never fully immerse ourselves in this business of living if we are constantly planning our escape.
That doesn’t mean we ought to wrap ourselves in a blanket of comfortably familiar routine. Life demands that we go out and meet it, comfort be damned. But let’s not rush past every mountain stream on our climb to the pinnacle. If hiking teaches us anything, it’s that the highlight real isn’t always the summit, but what we’ve encountered along the way.
Life isn’t that highlight real of places we’ve been, but the person we became in each step. The world is out there, but also right here. Waiting for us to see it. Our world is this next step.