The man with backpack and poles catches me out in the open reading aloud to the vista.
He says he is a through hiker.
I say I live nearby.
We talk of friends who have had surgery on the brain,
who are different yet still the same,
who sometimes lose their way.
May the trail be good to you, I say.
I do not want to be a through hiker.
I want to walk in circles around a common space.
I want to gather where I’ve been, who I am, where I am going, what and who I love around this sacred place.
I want to be a resident, not a tourist.
I want to feast and not simply taste.
I want to be rooted and still feel the wind of the Spirit on my face.
I want to be the one with you in the cottage by the trail whose door is always open, who tends the flame, who listens and learns from the visitor and blesses them on their way.
I want to be close to the mountain, but live in the valley.
I want to know the trail, but still be surprised by its offerings each and every day.
I want to be well-traveled in the world within, so that when I circle around to home again and again, the findings are laid down in grace to walk beside the wanderings of faith.
(Written: June 1, 2003)