It’s a miracle, I feel, that humble roads can lead one to places of personal wonder and discovery. Such treasures seem to thrive where, and when, they’re least expected. Gathered Rain, by Kevin Trammel
The Second Edition of Gathered Rain includes a lot of new material, including the photo below. While the image does indeed add to the book, providing an evocative scene in context, the one below is expandable and in color. Enlarging it opens it up and one’s eye can’t help but stray beyond the vanishing point of the road, leading one’s imagination to wonder what may lie there.
It’s difficult for me to describe the particular value that this road had to me at that time in my life (circa 1986). I made some effort to do so in the book, as much as could add to the overall work, but a humble dirt road such as this can afford incredible opportunity for the avid adventurer. I’d love to be able to list all the discoveries I made while jogging or walking along this small bit of land, but it would take longer than I have at the moment. It could probably fill another book, assuming my mind is sharp enough to remember it all. And yet, whether or not my recollection is complete, those moments are yet woven into the weave of my life, their subtle influences still active.
I was “on retreat” from college (IU Bloomington) and working hard to reorient myself to my path in life. I would jog along this road almost every afternoon, after getting home from work. I also spent a lot of time just walking, musing over what I saw, contemplating recent experiences, striving to orchestrate renewed insight about my life, the world, and everything (to re-purpose an apt phrase from Douglas Adams). It was a simple dirt road, which yet held such treasures as jewels in a dog’s pawprint, a bull greater than a mountain, a small wood of healing oaks and whispering loam, wheat fields of burnished copper that sung a wondrous chorus in the fall breezes. There were other mystical hints and whisperings, including a rumor amongst the gathered trees surrounding a corn field that there had once been a mysterious well there with a sacred tome buried in a sealed sarcophagus at its bottom.
But, if you want to hear more about these things, I’m afraid you’ll just have to read the book!
Visiting friends would walk with me along this road (Bill, Dan, Matt, Susan, Diane, and others). We’d talk about our dreams, our obstacles, our plans for succeeding despite the challenges. As we were young (in our early twenties) the future sometimes seemed steep ahead. We also had a generous portion of physical vitality, too, which was of immense help. Still, being so young, what emotional and mental maturity we had was yet nascent, much remaining dormant. But, this road did its best, with its hoard of spiritual wealth, to help us wake up. For me, it succeeded in surprising measure, when I consider that it was only a “dirt road” between forgotten farm fields in a lonely part of mid-eastern Indiana! It also offered the wonderful gift that whilst walking along its shoulders one found one’s self relaxing and opening like the flowers there that flourished out of the late winter frost.