That title also happens to introduce one of my favorite poems by Thomas Hardy. In it, he reminisces about his final years with his wife before her death and laments that he could have cherished their moments together more while they were taking place.
My title sums up the end of a different type of journey, however, namely, the finishing of another book, when I am finally able to enjoy the calm but richly full feeling of fulfilment and that accompanies the completion of any accomplishment. It strikes me, though, that no journey, be it literal or metaphorical, ever really ends, for there is never an ultimate destination beyond which we can no longer move. All roads lead somewhere, but they also all lead back to where they started, opening up even more possibilities on all sides.
When I finish a story, I stand at the end of yet another long walk, seeing lots more road ahead of me, as well as all the different other directions I might have headed off in. For writing, like roads, is never final. There is never a “last word,” or a true “The End.” Words are audible and visual forms of energy. And if words should ever fail us, like the energy that enables the flower or the tree to mesmerize us, they won’t die but simply lie in wait for the next traveler upon which to attach themselves.
Like a cat moving along through underbrush unwittingly gathering seeds and other bits of potential new plants, I move along gathering ideas. For now, I will pause and take stock, assess and reevaluate. And then, before too much more time elapses, I pick up my walking stick and set out anew to see what awaits me there along the many secret paths which are, as long as I am able to travel them, all mine and mine alone.
Photo Copyright 2014-Rachel Lovejoy
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