As an educator and discoverer, I would hope that you would ask, “Connections of what?” How about connections with others who look at and appreciate life as you do? What kind of connection do you need: a connection of you with your own heart, soul, and inner voice; a connection with the Universe and the Spirit; a connection with the past; a connection with something, anything? My intent for this blog centers on those who have sought the same sorts of connections, those who have created connections in their arts or who have lived lives that exemplify such searching. These vignettes will, hopefully, encourage, enlighten, and uplift you from time to time. Enjoy!
Walt Whitman and “Song of the Open Road”
As a former literature teacher, I believe that Whitman stands alone in terms of pioneering a new spirit which is revealed in his poetry. In “Song of the Open Road” Whitman sees himself connected to all things via a road down which he begins to walk. His connection, however, is not the simple idea of “This road will lead me somewhere; therefore, it connects me with that next town, those people, etc.” No, it’s much deeper. In an apostrophe, he speaks to the road and acknowledges the depths of what it evokes from his soul when he says, “O public road,…/You express me better than I can express myself,/You shall be more to me than my poem” (Section 4). That which it is to him is revealed immediately in Section 5 when he feels the impact of the road, the unseen vibrational energy to which he connects and which he in turn emits: “From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,/Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,…/I inhale great draughts of space,/The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine./I am larger, better than I thought,/I did not know I held so much goodness.”
Wow! Whitman experienced the depths of the common things around him and sensed the flow of the Universe in them. In Section 3 of the same poem, he refers to the air and light and paths and says to them, “I believe you are latent with unseen existences…” (Whitman). He sensed the spiritual vibrations within his environment. All of this expands his perception of himself; he grows personally through connecting to these things, especially the Open Road. He learns that he is connected to the vast expanses of nature and geography, and this frees him from all limitations and society or self-imposed restrictions, “imaginary lines.” He realizes the vast extent of his own goodness. What a wonderful realization!
So, I ask myself some questions. How often do I pause long enough to take in the energies of my environment? How do I interpret them? How do I connect to them? How does this help me to grow? What new truths do I realize about myself, my spirit? What does my heart say to me about my environment? I can pick anything and speak to my heart and discover and connect. So can you. By the way, Whitman, in this same poem, Sections 9-15, invites us to travel with him in this journey: “Allons! [French for “Come with me”] whoever you are come travel with me!” (Section 9) Are you in?
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!