Once upon a time, Red Wing depended on the Mississippi River to transport agricultural products (mostly wheat) out and other necessities (goods, textiles, staples) in. The eastern overlook was used specifically in the spring to watch for that first steamboat coming upriver once all the snow and ice had melted.
Well, the river’s first traffic actually ventured northward on the March 14th, but today was the first day the tugs were actively pushing the shallow-bottomed cargo haulers at sunrise.
Seeing them come upstream, stately and slow, navigating turn and bend in the channel with care, I was reminded of a song I’d learned as a Girl Guide in Canada about the barges moving to the sea during the night.
The tune has a lonely sound, the words betraying a longing for adventure, new sights and sounds with which to fire the imagination. Near to thirty years since the last time I sang it and still it’s imprinted indelibly in mind and heart.
When a person has the soul of a wanderer, songs like this call out to that deepest part of their nature; the desire to go, to see, to experience… and then to move on. Because no one singular place can actually hold us for very long. Even if we’re comfortable, even if we’ve built a home and group of close-knit friends; the internal call will come eventually, making feet and mind and heart restless. Every hilltop cries out, what lies beyond me? Come see!
If we’re lucky, we find a profession that feeds that innate desire, and we get to travel all our lives; gathering stories and experiences to share with the next group of friends. Taking pictures to hold that place and its unique beauty forever in memory.
And if we’re not lucky… if the idea never occurs to make a career of traveling… if we don’t meet fellow adventurers who plant the idea in our heads, show us the way to achieve that uniquely impermanently-permanent lifestyle…
Then we stay in one place. Aching. Longing. Bored and restless and filled with vague disquiet, as though something vital is missing. We change jobs frequently, trying to soothe the internal turmoil that doesn’t seem to make any sense, have any source, any reason for existing in our lives.
Astonishing, what can cross the mind in those moments following the sight of something connected with strong nostalgia, isn’t it?
So how about you? What cries out to the deepest part of your Self at odd moments, startling you with its intensity?
And what will you decide to do about it?