Ryokan, a Zen Buddhist Monk is the author of my all time favourite poem. It goes along the lines of “if you point your cart south when you want to go north how can you ever hope to arrive.”
My Sat-nav used to have south as its’ default mode. I travelled the Southern Expressway many times before i learned how to reprogram it. I know it’s twists and turns by heart.
The first stop is Procrastination not much ever happens there. If you keep going about 50kms veer left to Projection, that’s got a huge playground and if you continue on that road you can stop at the park in Fear. Not far from Fear is Judgment, it has a historic monument dedicated to “criticising others so you can boost your self esteem” and the trip is never complete without an overnight stay at Resentment. The highlight there is a museum full of demands, self-righteousness and unrealistic expectations. The final stop is the village of Self-Pity. You can easily lose yourself leaning on the “wall of misery”, overlooking a soggy marsh. It’s around there I usually decide I’ve seen enough and make a U-turn.
The Northern Highway is not as familiar, there’s still uncharted territory but so far my favourite place is Gratitude. I like to explore the “there’s always someone worse off than you” garden. It’s a peaceful spot. The roadside stall just after Service has the juiciest fruit i’ve ever tasted and potting around the retro store in Courage brings rewarding finds. The night market at Patience has wonderful gifts for family and friends and if you’ve come this far it’s worth the extra mile to get to the art gallery in Forgiveness. It features the self portrait “i’m still learning.”
When you’re done there drive to the lookout of Equanimity for magnificent views. Thousands of dwellings stretch to the coast as far as the eye can see. Take a while to sit on the bench of Compassion, and hear the quiet whisper “they are still learning too”
Those close to us are sometimes resistant to our northern adventures or may feel confronted by our new freedom to roam. But we don’t leave them behind we just widen the road so it’s less effort when they choose to turn their cart.
Dedicated to my dear friend Margie who lives up north and showed me how to get there.
© 2015 Carole Migalka