Picture a Place beyond your front door,
Where the world awaits you, when you are locked down no more.
Where Coronavirus is a Mexican beer-drinking game,
And social isolation a choice not a chore. Things will never be the same.
I’ve heard that one before. The plain fact is, lifetimes well lived never were,
But that little reminder is neither here nor there.
Is it high tide, or glen, or Thai bride, or fen
You seek? Petersburg or Pelion? Russian or Greek?
Then, is it painting a mural on a West Bank wall?
Or lying in wet sand doing not much at all?
Do you see yourself gladly on a deck chair in Spain?
Or puffing away on the Darjeeling train?
A bit of imagination and the possibilities seem endless. And they are.
I can testify to that. Because I’ve kept near and I’ve ventured far.
There’s really nowhere you’ll feel friendless. Whether you’re watching red cardinals from a bench in Central Park.
Or itching your head in the flea markets of Muscat.
There’s nowhere you won’t make your mark.
I myself have had visions on high,
Of following mountains way up to the sky.
And then looking down on all I survey,
A thought. A plot. I’ll come back here one day.
Or not go away,
I know. I’ll stay rooted to the spot, and dream not of what I’m missing,
but of what I’ve got.
Which is really the whole world when what’s all around
Are mountains beyond mountains. What is this I have found?
Head in the jet stream, heart on my sleeve,
Life’s best in the thrill of the chase, i believe.
Or better still, I found contentment. That’s what i meant.
There is so much to see, so far to go,
So many ways: fly, cycle, row. Hitch a ride, crawl on all fours,
It doesn’t matter how. Providing you do it outdoors.
Depart at a snail’s pace. Arrive in an instant.
Whoever said dreams had to be distant?
By saying ‘I can’t’, you never will. A mountain?
You’ll be lucky to get up a hill.
So don’t forget to recall, it’s all in the mind. If you fall,
Only you can leave yourself behind.
If you like, walk on your hands to Timbuktu,
And when you get there you’ll know what to do.
Keep on keeping on, this time on your feet,
and smile aloud at the people you meet. Everywhere along the way.
Your presence there will make someone’s day, no doubt. Maybe everyone’s.
Depends where you are, where it’s about. Greeks are not Egyptians.
Cambodians not Colombians. Angolans not Australians. Same but different,
Different but the same, a million broken pictures within a single frame.
A mosaic, you might say. A tapestry, a dot painting, a thing on a wall,
Hungarian, Haitian, Hurdy Gurdy Man, or Han. People are people. Wherever you find them. That’s all.
Wherever you roam, roam with a smile.
And if strangers invite you in for a while,
Don’t turn them down.
Turn them up, let them speak, of what they did today and what they did last week.
Who cares if you can’t follow, if it’s all mumbo-jumbo.
You’ve given them yourself, not some hollow
Man! They can see your spirit is willing, your eyes are smiling, your voice is trilling
Out birdsong, some foreign tongue, delighted to have you here among
No one is a stranger, not when you travel.
Except yourself maybe. Let that twist of fate unravel.
So, next time you find yourself in some forgotten land.
Soon, I trust. On an island in a warm sea scratching the sand,
Or if needs must, holidaying local. Even if that means dressing up as a yokel.
Original thinking is the key. Another experience in the bag. The making of me.
Give yourself a big pat on the back for re-learning the art of life. Such a drag, after a year stuck at home
On the edge of a blunt knife.
All things exist, but only life is for living. Tell me something I don’t know.
But have you thought of the future, of the places you’ll go?
(Inspired by Dr Suess, Oh, The Places You’ll Go)
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