Friday, February 20, 2015

What is Wandering?

This entry was published in the February 17th edition of the Kings County Record.  I've now been writing for the record going on 8 years and every now and then it is good to remind my readers, and my self why I write.  This was the point of this entry.  As you read, let your mind wander, and when you get a chance wander with your body somewhere too.  Don't get completely lost though.

Capstick is a small fishing village in Cape Breton.  An easy place to wander.

Wandering?  What is wandering?  I was asked this question the other day and it got me thinking about what "wandering" is to me.  Ironically it took me some time to figure it out.  It led me to think that maybe I need to fill readers in on why I write this column.  You might consider this edition a bit of a reminder as to why I wander.  Many people would likely, for good reason, assume that for me wandering means me being lost in the woods.  Sometimes it is simply that.  More often though it is more than that. 

A walk across a snow covered field is not simply a way to get cold feet.  When you let your mind go free it can become a great deal more.  When you can look and use your imagination you can almost see every snow flake.  You can hear them gently land on the curling drift.  When I write, I try to take the reader to a place, not an actual physical place, but rather a place in their mind.  I want the reader to let their mind wander to a wooded path along a fast running, boulder strewn, fish bearing stream that rumbles loudly as it pours over a large, mossy, emerald green boulder.

Wandering, for me, is a manner, in today's terms, to reboot my mind, body, and soul.  It is a way to see things again for the first time. Google defines it as "traveling aimlessly from place to place."  I like most of this definition but I can travel aimlessly in one place too.  When I sit at the atop an old tree stump on the top of a ridge looking over a clear cut to small settlement below I can wander through time.  Back to when homes were more often heated by a wood stove and we travelled using a horse and buggy.  Or I can wander to the time when the clear cut in front of me was a mature stand of softwoods full of deer and squirrels.  So I don't need to travel from place to place to wander, in essence, I can wander in my own back yard.

One of the reasons why I started writing this column was to encourage people to get out and "wander" in their own backyards.  I don't simply mean in your half acre building lot but if that is where you feel comfortable then it is as good a place as any to start.  I have to be honest, that is how I started.  When I was a boy, 3 or 4 years old, I would wander around my parent's backyard, by the time I was 5 or 6 I was in the neighbor's yard and exploring the brook at the edge of our lot.  The progression and growth is great to see in yourself and just because you might be older now, it doesn't mean you can't wander and grow in new places.  Sometimes you might find a new place right outside the backdoor.  Suddenly you may have a bird's nest in a nearby tree or maybe a squirrel has found access under your back deck and you take note and let your mind and soul wander or even ponder these new places. 

Where ever you might wander I hope it brings you adventure and happiness.  I hope that you grow spiritually stronger as much as physically stronger.  As deep as the snow is this winter I hope that you can still find a way to appreciate all that nature has to give us.
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