Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Ramble - Journey

Journey comes from the Middle English journei, meaning day (or day's travel), through the Old French jornee and Vulgar Latin diurnta, thence the Late Latin diurnum (meaning day), or perhaps the neuter form of the Latin diurnus, meaning daily or "of a day". The word claims kinship with journal, diurnal and diary which comes to us from the Latin diārium meaning daily allowance or record. Somewhere in there too and predating 950 CE by a fair nugget of time are the Middle English dæg; and the Germanic tag.

The word harks back to the beginning time when we moved from place to place on our own two feet and measured our barefoot progress by the amount of daylight involved in the process. There are some lovely synonyms for this week's word in our language: adventure, campaign, caravan, expedition, exploration, migration, odyssey, passage, peregrination, pilgrimage, quest, ramble, roaming, roving, safari, sally, seeking, sojourn, transmigration, vagabondage, voyage, wandering and wayfaring.

Journeying is not just the simple business of getting from one place to another place though. When I say the word (and I am fond of it), I think not of trips to school or marketplace, but of childhood rambles and a clear sense even then that life was an adventure unfolding - that something grand, magical and illuminating awaited behind the next tree or around a bend on the trail ahead. My childhood self spent hours watching leaves float down rivers of windfall light, how light turned the whole world dazzling gold as the sun went down at the end of the day. A child has no words for such things, but oh, how feelings of wonder tugged at my sensibilities in those times.  "Ready or not, here I come, seeking something magical, mysterious and incandescent, I know not what."

From rapt childhood moments that odd little girl moved on into college, adulthood, work, marriage, parenting and all the bumps and potholes in the shambolic road of life. Oh, there were snippets of fey knowing here and there, but the midlife journey often seemed to be "arrow straight" and running toward a flat horizon, nary a tree, a hill, a cantrip or a mystery in sight.

Older now and hopefully (not sure about that though) a little wiser for all my meanderings, in these eldering days, I think about the wind in highland trees and sunrises seen from the top of the cliffs over Dalhousie Lake.  I think of migrating geese and drifting fogs in early morning, the way clouds seen from "up there" seem to form a sparkling road - one spiraling right out into the great beyond and eternity.  There are glorious sunsets to be seen if one climbs the mountain at twilight, but they can be seen from the shoreline too, often in the splendid company of herons.

Here I am again, watching leaves float down the river in season, haunting shorelines with a camera and trying to capture that twilight moment when the world seems to be spun out of gold.  The childhood sense of journeying and mystery that seemed to vanish during my frantic middling years has returned and so have my dreams.  There are sleep wrapped sojourns on the shore of Lake Superior, oceans of cloud seen from the roof of the world, sunrises over the yellow mountains of China's Anhui province. There are adventures in the offing, eldritch musics offered in the voices of the sirens.

Childhood rambles, mortgage payments, the straight line highways of middle years, and fabulous skies in wondrous places - all are part of the journey and whether or not we remember it most of the time, that journey is about community, wildness, light and grace unfolding. May there be joy and adventure on your own wanderings...

5 comments:

liliannattel said...

"May there be joy and adventure on your own wanderings..."

And on yours. Thank you for sharing these images and thoughts.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

I have especially enjoyed the posts when you delve deeply into a word, then take it to your heart and share of your own experiences. I have walked many miles on a similar path...so wish you the same blessings you are sending out to the universe.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Wonderful words....
Blessings to you
Dear Cate.

Guy said...

Hi Cate

I loved hearing about your childhood journeys they struck a real chord. Observing the natural world can be a real gift and refugee for a child trying to navigate the change to adulthood I think because it is neutral and constant even as the seasons change.

All the best.
Guy

Green Gal said...

I will never think about the word journey the same again. Magical! Thank you!