I remember reading a story once about a man who one day went out walking in some piny hills. The trail was quite uneven and littered with tree roots, and the man, being quite sensible, didn’t want to trip or fall. So he kept his eyes fixed firmly on the path immediately in front of him. After a while of walking in this studious manner, though, he developed a cramp in his neck. And he realised that he had gone on for a few miles without noticing any landmarks or enjoying the scenery.
As an experiment, he decided to try walking with his gaze focused strictly at eye level. No glancing down at his feet, or the path, or any particularly gnarled roots. Trusting his feet and periphery vision to find their own way, he enjoyed the view. And to his surprise, he didn’t trip, not once. His shoulders relaxed, he began to enjoy the walk, and his gait grew smoother than when his entire focus had been fixed on the ground.
The author had another point to this story, but I started thinking about it today with the whole idea of walking on. I’m the type of person who likes, almost needs, to know where I’m going. It would almost be fair to say I obsess over it. But suddenly I’m at the point where in a few months’ time I have no idea where my life goes next. And it’s hard. Scarier and more terrifying than I want to describe. (No, I’m not trying to be melodramatic.)
Sometimes I wish I could stop time. Sit under a tree and not travel at all. But I suppose the thing with life is that we’re always journeying somewhere. And in the end, things will work out. Not because the world is a kind place, or because karma will balance everything out. I can say this because other people can sometimes see it better, and as a friend reminded me, there is a reliable God (with a perfect track history by the way) who gives more than enough grace to see us through.
So for me, to walk on right now means to stop trying to decipher the road ahead of me. It means to look up, and notice the life around me right now.