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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Journey*

*Somerset, PA Daily American
October 30, 2010
as "It's About the Journey"

Copyright © 2010 by Ralph Couey

We humans are explorers, driven by our curiosity. The irresistible desire for knowledge and the thirst for experience drives us beyond ourselves, striving to make the unknown known, whether scaling a mountain, or a simple stroll around a new neighborhood.I’ve never been one to stay put. The desire to travel springs from the restlessness I feel. To stay in one place is to put down roots. I have no desire for roots, for I yearn to roam. In the open road and the perfect sky, I hear the siren song of freedom.

There’s a horizon out there.

On the far side are things I’ve never seen, places I’ve never been, people I’ve never met, experiences I’ve never had. To seek the horizon and all that lies beyond is to free the spirit and uncage the soul. To some, a horizon is a boundary, a rampart separating the risky and unknown from the safe and familiar. For me, the horizon is a gateway; the inviting door through which beckons the seductive hand of adventure and discovery.

Indulging my inner explorer, I have sought the horizon and all that lies beyond. I have stood in wonder before the multitudinous works of man; I have knelt in awe before the creative majesty of God, finding peace in a thousand moments from the beauty of a desert sunset, to the quiet joy of a grandchild's embrace.

Being human, however, I am also conscious of the rapid passage of time. The tick of the clock and the turn of the calendar haunt me. They are the urgent reminders that each day is a precious resource, a gift not to be wasted. When I was young, the future stretched out before me, as limitless as the universe itself. But now, the infinite has become finite; out of the limitless, walls have appeared. I have discovered, to my lasting regret, that life has an end. Sadly, in contemplating the path my life has traveled, I realize how I squandered my youth and vitality, allowing all my tomorrows to become yesterdays, wasting countless opportunities.

However, my time has not yet ended. I still have the desire and ability to climb on a motorcycle and voyage towards the sunset, breathing the sweet air of freedom under a limitless blue sky. There, I find that eternal space, the one that exists between yesterday and tomorrow; between the question and the answer; a space where all things are possible. There is no past, no future, only that perfect moment of life.

If I possessed the courage, I would become such a vagabond, freeing myself of the weight of obligations and possessions. To be rich in material goods only leads to a deeper emptiness. To be rich in the stuff of life, experience and knowledge, however, is to fill the heart to overflowing.

In the time I have left, I will seek high mountains and broad plains; trackless deserts and cathedral-like forests. I will explore great cities, ancient and modern. I will ride along country lanes through meadow and moor, and stand on the shores of great oceans and humble ponds. I will take to the roads on days when the sun and leaves dapple the path before me. I will ride on days when the autumn mists shroud the hillsides, and those times when the sky roars and the rain pours, humbled by the raw power of nature. I will feel the sunrise, the silent promise of a new day. And I will seek the evening; the contemplative peace of a long, purple twilight.

Every dawn is filled with opportunity; every sunset satiated with fulfillment. And every morning there will be a new horizon…

…calling to me…

Joyfully, my spirit answers; another journey is begun.
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