I’ve Always Wanted That Round Door.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

It’s my favorite line from a poem in my favorite book. I’ve known this poem for more than three-quarters of my life. My uncle opened a door for me in the gifting of The Lord of the Rings, and of all the copious things I’ve taken from that book it’s that line that means most.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

I’m a wanderer. But not lost. I love my life, and those who occupy it. That’s what gives me the courage to see beyond the next curve in the road. It’s precisely that security that makes me want to go look over the horizon. I’ve never seen it as wanting to run from something. It’s addition, you see, not subtraction.

A few days ago I stood at the edge of the Pacific, and dug my heels deep into the dark volcanic sand of western Costa Rica. It was late at night, and the moon had risen over the hills surrounding the little bay. Behind me She and some dear friends were sitting on beach towels, talking and laughing. For me, it was the best moment from a trip of really great moments. It was one of those moments when, for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.

And I looked out past the beach, past the bay. I saw the lights from what I assume were fishing boats. I thought about the same things I always think about when I’m staring out at the ocean.

From here, right here, I could go anywhere. From this beach, I could reach any beach. At some point in history, someone from somewhere else sailed past this little bay and was the first to do so. Where were they from? What brought them here? And for that matter, when I leave this place, who will occupy the room She and I have stayed in? Where will they be from? What of this place will mean most to them? What will they take home?

Will they have gone to the Monkey Bar? Would they follow the dirt path away from the beach to find the little bar with the dirt floor and the weird retaining wall made of Corona and Imperial beer bottles? Would they see the capuchin monkeys playing in the trees? Would they note the missing “e” in the sign?

Would they sit on the beach late at night, laughing with friends and watching the stars?

I hope so.

I hope they leave this place, stop at a market in their home town and buy what they need to try making Costa Rican rice & beans, fried yucca, carne asada and salsa macha. I hope they make a dinner for their family and friends, and tell stories of volcanoes, zip lines and howler monkeys.

While not all who wander are lost, not all who are lost wander. The older I get, the more I hope that I haven’t yet tasted my favorite food, or heard my favorite song, or walked my favorite path. As we go over each horizon, do we not take from each place something that becomes part of who we are? Do we not grow with each new experience?

That reminds me of my second favorite line from my favorite book.

“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

To the road I say, “sweep on.” To friends and family I say, “I’d love for you to join me, but if you can’t I’ll send pictures”.

One Comment on “I’ve Always Wanted That Round Door.

  1. Again I say, You are an amazing writer. You delve so deep in your thoughts, observations, memories, and experiences. I love following you and look forward to your posts. Again, I will ask you, Please adopt me so I can go on your adventures personally. I promise not to call you Mom and Dad!

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