Several years ago, I was in a small city Medicine Hat, Alberta. I was lost and stopped several people for directions. The second half of this poem by Connie Wanek reminded me of some of the directions I received. I eventually found my way.
Today, as a I read this poem, I wondered if the second half of the poem’s directions were not the ones I need some days. Occasionally, t is nice to wander. A river that winds its way through the landscape meanders. I wonder why we don’t do that more as humans? When I got to the last line about approaching the horizon on my knees it reminded me of the things I take for granted and do not take time to just meander towards.
First you’ll come to the end of the freeway.
Then it’s not so much north on Woodland Avenue
as it is a feeling that the pines are taller and weigh more,
and the road, you’ll notice,
is older with faded lines and unmown shoulders.
You’ll see a cemetery on your right
and another later on your left.
Sobered, drive on.
Drive on for miles
if the fields are full of hawkweed and daisies.
Sometimes a spotted horse
will gallop along the fence. Sometimes you’ll see
a hawk circling, sometimes a vulture.
You’ll cross the river many times
over smaller and smaller bridges.
You’ll know when you’re close;
people always say they have a sudden sensation
that the horizon, which was always far ahead,
is now directly behind them.
At this point you may want to park
and proceed on foot, or even
on your knees.