The other day I went, for the very first time, into a second hand bookshop in my local town. Full of that familiar smell that these bookshops bring universally. The odour hits the limbic senses and instantly provides tranquility. I was helping my wife in her shop and took strolls around the area. It was a Sunday and all but a few shops were shut. Luckily the few that were not, provided some amazing purchases. Some technical leads, universal charger units, and similar stuff to add to the Solar Power kit I’m developing. Very much cheaper in one of those bargain bins you find. These were bought in an old hippy shop called ‘Ian Snow’. Well it started out very ‘hippy’, but has developed over the years to four floors full of eclectic items. I bought a waxed cotton hat and some joss sticks from there too.
Apart from the bookshop, hippy shop, a few café’s and my wife’s shop, the town was pretty shut. As said, it was Sunday after all. But many tourists and locals were teeming the streets! The café tables were full. The town felt as alive as on a weekday. My wife is not one to miss opportunities. Even though she badly needs a break from the busy-ness in her current life. Oh! Apart from the technical stuff, etc. and this poetry book? I bought some fresher replacement essential oils of Clary Sage and Dark Patchouli from my wife’s shop. My wife despairs on my ability to easily part with the little money I have. I despair that she works her socks off. She argues she doesn’t. I argue I don’t spend too much money. Sometimes we cannot see our own ‘Wood‘ for the symbolic variety of interesting ‘Trees’ that we adopt to exist in our lives.
Back to the poems. The title ‘Staying Alive. real poems for unreal times’ made me stop in my tracks. The book sat face up, on an old table, in front of the long row of book spines that faced me. The poem ‘The road not taken’ was one of a few I read then and there. A couple of the others were also so impactful that I knew it was a book to possess. This poem profoundly spoke of my current status when VeeDub travelling. Sitting and travelling in the VeeDub historically since 2009. This is simply the situation. Sitting at crossroads making choices. A fellow blogger said, in answer to my comment on her site post re: Feather Quill writing and my aversion to handling feathers that, in similar wording, ‘you can’t do everything’. That was pretty much a profound statement.
I suppose in this later stage of life and retirement giving one the flippety flappity panic thoughts of ‘here’s the opportunity to get everything done that you never had the opportunity to do over the last 30 years because you were up to your neck in professional work commitment and now you can get everything done that you promised yourself you would do once you found time………inhale……..deep breath!’. Prior to 30 years? Musician and potter status, on reflection, was a far gentler life. Breathe Mindful normality. Stop currently seeking self belief, aspirations and purpose all the time!
Zen Master Linji wrote:
“If you want to be free, get to know your real self. It has no form, no appearance, no root, no basis, no abode, but is lively and buoyant. It responds with versatile facility, but its function cannot be located. Therefore when you look for it you become further from it, when you seek it you turn away from it all the more “.
So. I have thought over both Master Linji and also this poem’s message many times over the last 24 hours. I even wrote down my day’s ‘doing’ (included here on a photograph) becauseI thought I’d wasted a whole day doing ‘nothing much’. I wrote the list simply to prove I hadn’t wasted the day really. I feel I still need to consider both the Zen Master Linji advice and Robert Frost’s poem’s message a little longer. Especially now this poem, which has only had about 48 hours presence in my life!
‘I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference’.
It says to me…..Don’t regret choices made.
Other poems by Robert Frost.
I have included the poetry book, ‘Off Road to Everywhere’ in the photographs below. It is another poetry book that provides a half hour or so of dipped in magical reading.
Please tap into each photograph to enlarge.