Week 32: Lust for Wandering

I wandered lonely as a cloud…

William Wordsworth

The immeasurable profundity of these lines strike a chord in my heart and make me weep with joy. Every time. Yes, indeed, I have wandered. I continue to wander. Aimlessly, sometimes. Sometimes, like in a museum, I wander with a purpose. Sometimes I choose to wander, leaving everything behind me. Wandering, I have found, does wonders for the soul. As a child, I remember often asking my mother what she thought about when she was sitting there quietly by the window or with a cup of tea. I know now, that she too, like me, is a wanderer.

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Lust for wandering = Wanderlust? Perhaps there is something deeply sexual about wandering. Perhaps, this is the realm where spirituality and sexuality intermingle and one is indiscernible from the other. Wanderings can stir something deep inside, like a lover’s first kiss or the anticipation of a budding love. It can be as exciting as a secret rendezvous in the moonlight. The yearning to wander into the wilderness or into the soft embrace of nature can be so intense as to cause a deep, painful longing. I have had my fair share of wandering and wondering and returning to where I began. Then I realise that I am not really certain anymore of where I begin and where I end; or when my heart has become so consumed by a love for my child or the love of my life, that I do not know where I end and where they begin. It is as if, the wandering has left me less of me and more of them.

Ten thousand saw I at a glace,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

William Wordsworth

Sometimes, when my ego gets in the way and clouds my judgements and darkens my vision, I become more of me. Rudderless, I wander around and collect more and more anger and bitterness within me. But on days when like a rolling stone on the bed of a mountain stream I flow, there is only sunshine warming me and the evening breeze cooling me. Sometimes, I am a butterfly, flitting and flying from one flower to the next, not a worry in the world. Other days, I am an angry growling bear. But I am happiest on days when I am filled with the wonder of a child watching a seedling grow. In the heart of the cotyledon, I find the love and the essence of Life and my wanderings cease for a while. I open the windows of my soul and pause and gaze with content.

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Then there is my wandering heart that wants to travel in the conventional sense of the word. As early as I can remember, I have loved traveling. While others found train rides boring, I could not get enough of them. There was so much time to pause and reflect and stare outside at the wonder and vastness of the country. Train rides are humbling because they make me realise how infinitely minuscule I am. And what is travel if it doesn’t have an element of ‘getting lost’ in it? I am not the kind to have every single minute of every single day planned out so that at the end of it, I would have ‘explored’ every bit of my destination. Surely, you see the paradox in that? For what is traveling if it doesn’t lead you through the bazaar of self-discovery?

… For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude…

William Wordsworth

“Not all those who wander are lost”, said Tolkien. I believe that there is nothing wrong in being lost. In fact, it is important to be lost sometimes. How will you know the value of discovery and the excitement of wandering if you don’t? Wanderings have led me far and wide and I am never more excited than when I am about to start a new adventure. I feel the exhilaration of something new, something wonderful unfolding. I throw away the predictable garments of mundaneness and seek out the excitement of the unknown. Every wandering of my mind leads me to a new place, an exciting place. Sometimes, they are familiar, homely. Sometimes, they are unknown, dark, and scary. Sometimes I find the grace to realise that like Charon, the ferryman of the underworld, I will always be able to guide myself back. But perchance I don’t, there will always be the strength of my love to pull me back up for air. No matter where I wander into, I always return to the moment when “my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils.”

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