Wednesday, 2 May 2012


On Following My Nose!

“...Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” - Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)

















One facet of my artistic bent has been closely following my wandering nose. The idea of some nebulous insistent female voice constantly demanding digital directional GPS injunctions makes me...well...shudder!
Speaking of shuddering...joining the Friday ‘freeway’ flocks, who, confined to sizzling tarmac planks as the singular means of escaping searing city summer afternoons, follow nose to tail on the same well worn black to their personal ‘pastoral’ destinations. 
This sounds distinctly like the tendency of sheep!
A long weekends Friday...early spring...summer’s near... 
Random thoughts casually stroll my senses...
Afternoons warmth...hmmm...good book...soft breezes...cottony sand...Chablis...short hour east escaping suburbans daily rut...
Minutes later...
Car in gear...no second thought...
Headed south to freedoms freeway...
Free...what?
A year since long forgotten Friday parking wars...
Stent-less state of grinding gridlock...
No ‘by-pass’ inserted here today...
Everyone bleating!
Without a milliseconds thought of joining humanities maddening ‘group think,’ I swing around, heading north...8 minutes at best, then, hanging right then moving east...traversing thousand greens, no soul in sight while herds enormous rage in metals mass below...sitting...sweating...swearing...boiling...heartburn city!
Unstressed...a few breaths north...wandering, meandering, poking, pondering...image making...on and on...no designed intent...
Result...
Never jammed by impatient herds boiling brutality...
Quiet solitude and gratitude regained...fresh routes discovered...
Arrive to beauties shade...
With wonders hours and peaceful prose... 
Penned paper thin... 
While sails glide in billowed white... 
On blue lagoons...
Nothing ever changes...
Just off any beaten track stretch empty ribbons of green deep freedom...ready for embrace.
I’ve always enjoyed living life along back lanes, constantly curious what mystery the next bend brings. One simple source of life’s pleasure for me is to begin down any unknown road, see another running off on a forty-five degree angle to the right or left, and on a whim follow my nose until another invites me elsewhere. 
I’ve often decided on fickle impulse to set off...unplanned jaunt, destination unknown, risk or result, who really cares?  
One day just east of our Toronto home we were lashed by a driving constant rain. Looking for relief...seven hours later we found ourselves...well...half way across Quebec...whoops!

















Rains persisted...daunting deluge...
Five further hours of soggy east...then...
Suns diagonal rips blankets heavy grey...
Ocean coasts turquoise spray mist my face...
Salty seaweed salad scents inhale...
Three exquisite exploring days to come...
Outer banks of sand and shells...
Raucous gulls and windswept grass...
What loss memorable, if waited for the perfect plan...
With all the little boxes ticked.


















For those of you who recoil at thoughts of wandering without agenda, what could possibly one need that could not be bought at a local dollar store for a weekends adventure?
Hotel reservations for the most part have virtually never entered the equation. Decades of wandering and we have yet to sleep in the car. On one occasion we slept in what could well be described as ‘hospitably dysfunctional.’ Interesting, in some ways that night was even more memorable and rehearsed laughs for months to come...for the most part they’ve delivered not only pleasant but positively memorable stays!


















Thinking a little off the beaten track can easily be characteristic of any creative endeavor of value. 
Sheep are easily stuck into the rut and routine of following their own along well worn paths where things have always remained as they have always been. Even with wide open spaces to wander, they huddle. My photos above describes this attitude...here a flock of sheep saw me approach. There they stood in the midst of a large field with a multitude of individual options open. As I approached they raced off following each other in mindless singular route...one virtually tripping over the next...so often we act with a herd mentality, thinking in rote rather than exploring with imagination our own distinct path, fully and individually engaged.
A shepherd who knows our tendencies, shows true care by leading his sheep up and off the beaten tracks...away from trodden patches to grasses deep and cool! To springs crystal pure...found and running free...to unknown turf where the walled penned ‘safety’ of legalism is long left behind...out to where howling faith lives wild...to where when nothing’s ventured...nothing’s gained!
My life has been far richer when veering more than slightly off normal routine to where I’ve experienced depth not found on average tracks. Safety is not necessarily spiritual...there are however, many within our herd who prefer the corral to freedom, brown to the green, stale to the fresh.
Abba, to whom I’m learning far too slowly, is my welcoming, loving, eternal Father...lets me, if I choose, trample in ever widening circles of desert dearth, turning previously sweet green pasture into patchy dry. Longing and waiting for my faith and trust, calls quietly and winsomely my personal name to follow off the humdrum a little north, a little east to places of...
Peace...
Solitude...
Silence...
Restoration...and yes...including...
Storms and setbacks...
Times laden with deep lament...
Yet joy found tall in midst of pain...
Away from rut like living...
Toward faiths formidable journey of fidelity! 
In my daily spiritual sojourns, I’m opting for renewals off ramp toward pristine green and fresh breezes with winds that brace my face, to the muddy morass of ongoing maintenance which often mires me in one plank constriction. 
So, for what it’s worth, break a rule or two today...drive without a map...paint outside the lines...let wet grass touch the skin of your feet...wander and wonder...and while doing that, know that the shepherd has his eye on you!
Psalm 23: 1-3 The Message (MSG)
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. 
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, 
you find me quiet pools to drink from. 
True to your word, 
you let me catch my breath 
and send me in the right direction.
Psalm 139:9-10
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
even there your hand will guide me, 
your right hand will hold me fast.













Soli Deo Gloria
J. Douglas Thompson...SDG
Copyright 2011

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