Pleasure in the Pathless Woods
📚 Story of the Week #29
As a child, hearing the call of nature during the middle of the night felt life threatening. My imagination had decided that vampires were lurking in the dark, and not the sparkling sort that would have boys and girls swooning come the twilight of the new millennium, but the classic demonic kind.
Faced with these monsters, my six-year-old brain reasoned that the only way of surviving the round trip from my bedroom to the bathroom depended on my being pin drop silent. To this day, my bones still remember how to tread across the hallway floorboards without making a single squeak.
After growing out of imagining vampires, the fear of not having a plan settled in. As babies, we have the easy job of being squishy, cute, and jumping some simple hurdles: walking, talking, and learning to not cover your little brother in baby oil and talcum powder for the giggles.
The years go by and you progress through school and into university. During this time, the world revels in your infinite potential, leaving you giddy with the possibilities, but then you hit a turning point. The world decides it’s time to have a sticky beak into your life plans and asks the question that launches a thousand ships of existential dread, “What are you going to do for the rest of your life?”.
If 2020 has made anything clear it’s that life plans sit on top of some shaky foundations. For the fresh year ahead, instead of planning every step, let’s embrace squeaking some floorboards and remember that “There is pleasure in the pathless woods”. (1)
(1) From the narrative poem, 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' by Lord Byron. The part I've found of greatest consolation is this excerpt:
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”