The Path of Life

· January 29, 2016

“Wanderer there is no path, for it is made by walking…” These words perfectly describe what life is; the path of life. There is no real path, no certain path, each one of us goes along forging our own path, our trail, creating our personal history full of good choices, bad choices, happy moments, and difficult times.

“Wanderer there is no path, for it is made by walking.” 

-Antonio Machado-

But that is life; it can only be learned through living it, simply living, living without fear, carrying on endlessly despite the rocks and bumps in the road that sometimes make us trip and fall over and over again just to get up again, with vigor and strength, without looking back. The past is gone and the future is on its way, buy we can only see vaguely the far-off horizon towards which we are moving.

In the mean time, we keep taking our steps at a slow and steady rhythm, and taking some like a little snail with its head hidden in its little house. But we put our heads down and continue moving forward, because “Wanderer there is no path, for it is made by walking.”

Sometimes we will have to decide whether or not we should cross a river or take a shortcut. We will enjoy the sun when it shines down in all of its splendor, and we will endure when a downpour hits us and knocks us down. And through that downpour we will collect little things, precious things, to keep in our memory to remind us of everything we have learned through the storm. It has taught us how to cover ourselves, scared either that the chill might make us sick and hold us back from continuing on, or that it might ruin our clothes or our hair, and make us look bad in front of someone we may come across in our path…

And we will carry on amassing things and experiences, feeling heavier and heavier the farther we go. We will have a hardened face and a thicker skin, from the sun, the wind, and the rain, but we will be a little wiser as we walk, because… “Wanderer there is no path, for it is made by walking.”


The strength of our willpower, the courage to keep walking, humility when we need it, and pride when we have reached the top of a mountain in the midst of our long journey…all help us throughout this long journey that is life. They are also there for he who does not find decisive answers, because life can only be learned by moving forward, and because mistakes can also be the right path. Vulnerability, fear, and uncertainty in the face of a dark night; we are alone on this path in which everything can turn into strange and mysterious shadows that confuse us and cloud our view, but even then, it has a certain charm.

Because…

 

Everything passes and everything remains,
but our purpose is to pass,
to pass forging paths,
paths over the sea.  

I never pursued glory,
nor left my song
to the memory of men;
I love delicate worlds,
weightless and gentle,
like soap bubbles. 

I like to see them paint themselves
with sun and scarlet, flying
under the blue sky, trembling
suddenly, and breaking… 

I never pursued glory.
Wanderer, your footprints
are the path and nothing more;
Wanderer there is no path,
for it is made by walking. 

By walking the path is made,
and it is seen when looking back,
looking back upon a pathway
that will never again be taken. 

Wanderer there is no path,
but rather a wake upon the sea…

Long ago in that place
where today the forests wear thorns,
the cry of a poet’s voice was heard,
“Wanderer there is no path,
for it is made by walking…”

Blow by blow, verse by verse…
The poet died far from home,
buried in dust in a neighboring land.
Upon leaving him they saw him cry,
“Wanderer, there is no path,
for it is made by walking…” 

When the goldfinch can no longer sing,
When the poet is a pilgrim,
when praying becomes futile,
“Wanderer, there is no path,
for it is made by walking…” 

Blow by blow, verse by verse.

-Antonio Machado-

We invite you to watch this video in which the original Spanish poem, written by one of the best poets of our time, is translated into song.