Writing 101 Day 4 suggests using an image as the creative spark for a post. I chose the image of a map.
The image of a map makes my thoughts turn to planning a journey. I feel comfortable if I hold a map in my hand because I can plan my route and end up at a pre determined destination. Even if I’ve never been there before, and have no idea how to get there, all the time I have the map I feel safe.
However sometimes you are forced to alter the planned route. You might get to a point and find the road blocked, or a diversion in place. You are forced off your plan, and that is when things get scary.
The map reminds me of when I set out on my family research. I set out with a destination in mind – I wanted to find my maternal grandfather. The map I was using to get there was my family tree. I held onto this map rigidly. But trees, especially family trees are more flexible than roads. Trees are living, breathing individual things, and you need to take care of them.
And on my journey to find my ancestors I am learning to find what is there, rather than chase some dream that may not be there at all. To walk the streets of my map, looking for a place that isn’t actually there is a waste of my time and energy. Rather let me throw away the map, be more open-minded and wander the streets aimlessly and see what is there. What will I find?
Going on a journey without consulting a map seems careless, it doesn’t feel right. I have lived my life by following directions, consulting documents for the right road to take. This leads to rigidity, to strictness and to not being impulsive. I am reminded of the poem by Robert Frost.
‘The Road Not Taken’ Robert Frost
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
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.
Choices, so many roads. Which road will I take to find my family? I will take the road less travelled by and hope it makes all the difference. I will throw away the map and follow my heart?
I will stop looking down at the map and look up at the tree tops.