Friday, December 30, 2016

A path forward to ...

I have encountered, time and again, the saying "...the path is made by walking." This morning I followed that fragment to its source. [see below] I discovered a poet, new to me, whose works I want to explore. As we face the pleasures and pains of the departure of 2016 and arrival of 2017, I'm going to suggest a few steps I've recently taken that each of you might want to include in your personal paths.

sometimes, a shadow crosses the path
sometimes, a shadow crosses the path
Photo by J. Harrington
Rebecca Solnit, as usual these days, offers reasons to be hopeful. Her essay in the guardian, Another, more beautiful America is rising. Trump will be resisted, contains this inspiring quotation from the California legislature, in response to the recent national elections:
manifesto of defiance: “California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our constitution.”
Unfortunately for we Minnesotans, both houses of our legislature are controlled by Republican majorities, so we can expect nothing comparable there, only efforts to obscure Minnesota's path to 
a sustainable future.

Solnit is one among several writers who propose steps worth including in any path we may make. A recent issue of the guardian includes this extremely important reminder from Steven Thrasher: A year-end plea: don't let politics overshadow life's splendor. Even if you don't read the column, don't miss the beginning photo of the dog's goofy smile.

Today's penultimate step brings us to the ever-rewarding Maria Popova's Brain Pickings and some of her thoughts prompted by one of America's Nobel Laureates in Literature, John Steinbeck. At least skim through A New Year’s Perspective: John Steinbeck on Good and Evil, the Necessary Contradictions of the Human Nature, and Our Grounds for Lucid Hope. There is no ultimate victory, only a worthwhile way to live.

These writers offer thoughts and perspectives, strategies and tactics, for not only surviving but thriving as we make our transition from a resource-extractive, frontier-oriented community to one that has learned to live with, not on, nature and with, not on, each other. That is a path we must, of necessity and humanity, choose. There are many paths through a wilderness. Each can lead us to where we need to be.


Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.

Traveller, the path is your tracks
And nothing more.
Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
By walking you make a path
And turning, you look back
At a way you will never tread again
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.”

Antonio Machado, Border of a Dream: Selected Poems