Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Places We Need

A friend is enjoying the final morning of a weekend retreat. He is in a place I know well, and it is easy to imagine the options from which he chooses the path for his last walk under a cool but sunny October sky. It is his birthday today, and he returns this afternoon to his family and its plans and its needs. With the retreat, he made a distinctive choice for how to usher in this next chapter of his life. It is a choice I understand.

Another friend is walking the streets of New York this morning. He is alone after an evening gathering of old friends and former colleagues. His train leaves in a couple of hours, but he heads this morning to places that he knows well from living here twenty years ago. He is a planner, and so I imagine he walks with a departure time guiding his steps, his pace. The city around him is an environment in which some people walk comfortably with themselves. This friend certainly does.

I reflect this morning on fresh memories of standing in a sunny field threaded by low stone walls. I had set out early yesterday with maps and directions to an old farm in the Blackstone River valley. Driving there alone, I got to make as many wrong turns as I needed near the end of the trip. Far from highways and interstates, I had almost resigned myself to not finding Cormier's Woods. I was ready to undertake the hour drive home when the road sign appeared, and in ten minutes I was standing alone in a quiet New England field.

We all get to the places we need.

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