This curious little book caught my eye when searching for a book on spiritual practice in my local library. It was called “TheWander Society” by Keri Smith. Flipping through this book like a combination of discovering a little cache of buried treasure and opening a door into a world of mystery and intrigue.
The author stumbled upon the existence of The Wander Society quite by accident as she was perusing a used bookstore in her town. She picked up a worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass from the shelves. In it were hand notated references “WW will show you the way,” “Solvitur Ambulando,” “The Wander Society,” along with other underlinings and strange symbols in the margins.
This is a book about Keri’s subsequent research into the “Wander Society” – which actually exists, taking inspiration from the life of Walt Whitman. Then there is information on how to be a wanderer and her handwritten written underneath the type in how her practice of wandering was changing her life. Anyone can be a member- however, but there are certain requirements…….
I’m not going to spoil the fun. Go out and read the book.
I must say, this little volume sort of upended how I’ve been thinking about my life. Of course, I’ve been in one of those places where I was on the verge of being upended, like the big earthquake we have been expecting in Oregon. This was a catalyst. I have always been a doer. That’s what our culture demands of us- achievement! productivity! Branding! But maybe there is another way to look at things that is…..
At the dawn of 2019, I am going to strive to be more of being than a doer, a wanderer more than a seeker.
Wish me luck
Hope you will join me
Happy New Year to all of you. Here is a poem from my favorite poet, Mary Oliver to close out the year…..
Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way: A Poem
by MARY OLIVER
If you’re John Muir you want trees to
live among. If you’re Emily, a garden
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.
When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.
Anything that touches.
God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.
In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.
All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.
To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.
For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!
Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.
The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.