Monday, December 14, 2009


Feeling under the weather. Three hours and ten minutes left of December 14th. A few ideas on my blog brainstorming page look promising, but I don't have the energy. Time to get the kids to bed. Poking around in old computer files for anything remotely blog-worthy. I don't have to impress anyone. It's about the discipline. Lots of unfinished ramblings, half of which would offend someone. Finally: Wandering. No idea when I wrote it. Not sure where I was going with it. But it spoke to me so maybe it'll speak to you. G'night!



Looking at maps always makes me want to travel. I peruse my tiny road atlas in my Franklin Planner when I have a few minutes free. Suddenly I want to drive up Minnesota highway 72 to Baudette where my mother-in-law grew up and then go on to Lake of the Woods just to see the water. I want to find the tiny, once-German-speaking town in Missouri where my grandpa Koenig was raised and all the little places in and around St. Louis my mom once lived.

But I want to experience more than just those places that have some significant association for me. What might I find in Stewartstown, New Hampshire? Is Forest City, North Carolina forested? Is there a woman sitting at a desk in Glenville, West Virgina, leafing through the colored pages of a book of maps and wondering what it would be like to get into her car and drive to Minneapolis?

For every dot on every map on every page in my book, there is a story. There are dozens of stories. They are as diverse and unique as each person in creation. At the same time, they are so similar to our own stories if we were to hear them, we would swear someone was talking about us. Someone living in Kayenta, Arizona has the same dreams I do. Another in Laurel, Deleware has the same fears. I am quite certain there is a woman in Midwest, Wyoming who loves nothing more than a good foot massage and a glass of chilled, white wine. And in Palmer, Alaska a young man shares my fascination with tornadoes and wishes he could just see one. Just once.

There is lonliness around every bend in the road. Someone’s wife has died of cancer, someone’s husband in an accident. A woman finds she cannot have children. A man realizes he never got around to building a family and he will live out his years without companionship. A young man buries himself in the haze of heroine to keep from facing a bleak reality. A child looks around her at the poverty in which she lives and sinks into despair. One could float gently down a river of tears from Blaine on the coast of Washington state to Flamingo in the dense Everglades.

Yet there are ports along the salty river, places where the water is pure and hope sprouts like soft spring grass. In Moab, Utah, a high school senior receives an acceptance letter and scholarship to a prestigious university. An aging widow in Cimarron, New Mexico who lost everything in a fire, is given a second chance by the people in her church and in her community. In Tappahannock, Maryland, a young professional tells her parents she is gay and they respond with unconditional love and support. A child in Clio, Alabama looks around her at the poverty in which she lives and vows to change her community.

In the state of Wisconsin, there are 426 public school districts. In every classroom, there are children, thousands of them, all poised on the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off. The track is neither straight nor smooth and the finish line constantly dodges and darts. But, oh, to run! I want to meet them all, stand along the way with refreshing water and filling wisdom, beg them to remember hope when they trip and fall headlong into the river of tears.

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