January 22, 2021

Another Look: Always the Road

New River Gorge Bridge, Photo by David Cornwell

Always the Road

All my life I’ve thought one day this wandering will be past.
One eureka moment! and I will be at home.
A sweet oasis — fruitful, verdant, restful land —
And I will smile, survey the scene, and settle down.

There we will laugh and feast and play ’til dark
Then lie within each other’s arms and sigh
And sleep as those untroubled or perplexed,
Wake to breathe the dew and steaming coffee mist.

Along this way I’ve sat at pleasant tables,
I have drunk the hospitality of friends;
Laughed until our bellies ached, falling to the floor
All night long, dreading only dawn’s sharp gleam.

For then, the road — always the road —
And “home” becomes another rearview mirror sigh.
Digging through the bin I find my sunglasses.
Visor down, I chase another light.


Photo by David Cornwell at Flickr


  1. “All night long, dreading only dawn’s sharp gleam” reminded me of a song
    “I don’t mean to cling to you my friend, it’s just I hate today to have to end,
    Never enough time to spend, I haven’t done enough for this to be the end,
    There must be more….”

  2. Roads go ever ever on,
    Over rock and under tree,
    By caves where never sun has shone,
    By streams that never find the sea;
    Over snow by winter sown,
    And through the merry flowers of June,
    Over grass and over stone,
    And under mountains in the moon.

    Roads go ever ever on
    Under cloud and under star,
    Yet feet that wandering have gone
    Turn at last to home afar.
    Eyes that fire and sword have seen
    And horror in the halls of stone
    Look at last on meadows green
    And trees and hills they long have known.

  3. the road in the heart
    travels further than any
    under foot or wheel

  4. The way that can be walked is not the eternal Way —- Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, Chapter 1

  5. I like the photo from West Virginia. Realizing that the temptation is always to think of the wilderness as a geography, a place, a circumstance….and that will definitely put me off course. And yet West Virginia is more wilderness to me than a desert. And one would be surprised at the problems with getting good water there. And Lord knows how many there struggle, perhaps more so than in cities. And yet it is so beautiful. Mind you, this is submitted by one who has a Forest Science degree.
    My oldest son and I would drive through parts of the state least traveled. Many stories about those trips. We went over a steep climb on a Friday night to find that narrow road lined on both sides with pick-ups outside a honky tonk. Then on the way back on Sunday morning lined with the same trucks for church across that narrow road.
    One time our old Chevy overheated in the middle of nowhere with a church on one side and graveyard on the other. We were invited to church, and after a conversation about our ancestors from there, we wereinvited to follow to other graveyards that might have some “Gays”. But we were told, don’t go that way( down the road past the church) with that car. You all know which way we went. AND, after a pretty harrowing trip down that road over narrow dirt paths with a drop off that was 1000’s of feet we came to signs for a state park. And after many more miles of magnificent trees(with circumferences we hadn’t ever seen in the eastern US) we came to a small town ( I call it a town…maybe 2 people year round) that is still our favorite location of all time. Can’t live there, but we can camp there.
    Anyway, maybe this isn’t specifically about the wilderness we find ourselves in, because I”m there daily( and it isn’t geographical). But being in the wilderness AND being in Goshen, WV calms my wandering soul.

    • David Cornwell says

      I have a couple of new camera lenses, and your comments are making me want to get in my car and head once again to West Virginia. I love those narrow roads and cliffs that drop steeply off to the side. Then find a parking space and wander off on foot.

      Start early; leave late.

  6. Mike?

    Or T.S. Eliot?

  7. So many roads I tell you,
    So many roads I know.
    So many roads, so many roads.
    All I want is one to take me home.

    —Jerry Garcia

  8. More and more I am paying attention to singers I pretty much ignored when they and I were young — Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson. Still mostly ignore what they recorded back when and figure I was right, but I’m astounded at what I’m finding now as they and I deal with geezer life. Bob Dylan singing standards? Ballads? Always thought he was a terrible singer and he still is, but his world and mine got a lot closer like railroad tracks in the far distance. Van Morrison may be the most underappreciated blues singer still around. And I’ve got some new fedoras to break in. I know you guys don’t listen much to fedora music, that’s okay. Like Merle says, I Am What I Am. Actually, the idea of two people looking at each other and each thinking the other is square is kind of amusing if you can step back a little.

    Willie Nelson is reported ailing. Reading between the lines it sounds like like that crud that used to be a three day cold and now takes three weeks of intense battle to overcome. He’s gotten pretty frail, prayers his way. Just ordered Django and Jimmie, Merle’s last album, cut with Willie, and waiting for God’s Problem Child by Willie and Triplicate by Dylan to come out this spring. If I have one big regret in life, it is that I did not pick up the skills along the way enough that I could go down to the local tavern on a Friday or Saturday night with a keyboard and a mike and not get tossed out. Wouldn’t trade where I am for that, just wish it could have fitted in. That’s a big hole. Here’s a lyric from Merle Haggard, RIP:

    How did You find me, how did You know
    I’d be here in this hole in the ground
    I can’t even see out, over the edge
    Lookin’ up from all the way down

    I thought I had been left here to die
    When I saw your face appear
    What a surprise
    How did You find me here

    I thought I could do it, all of it
    All by myself

    I thought I could win every round
    Then I hit rock bottom, the blues, I got ’em
    And You lifted me out of my fear
    And how did You find me?

  9. One of my favorite songs about “roads,” Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere”…

    “Well we know where we’re going
    But we don’t know where we’ve been
    And we know what we’re knowing
    But we can’t say what we’ve seen
    And we’re not little children
    And we know what we want
    And the future is certain
    Give us time to work it out


    We’re on a road to nowhere
    Come on inside
    Taking that ride to nowhere
    We’ll take that ride
    I’m feeling okay this morning
    And you know
    We’re on the road to paradise
    Here we go, here we go”


    • Then there’s this one, probably one of my top five songs of all-time, great story-telling (14 minutes long) in a song, “Telegraph Road” by Dire Straits. This one is best listened to with the volume set at Eleven.

      “A long time ago came a man on a track
      Walking thirty miles with a sack on his back
      And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
      He made a home in the wilderness
      He built a cabin and a winter store
      And he plowed up the ground by the cold lake shore
      And the other travelers came walking down the track
      And they never went further, and they never went back
      Then came the churches, then came the schools
      Then came the lawyers, and then came the rules
      Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
      And the dirty old track was the telegraph road

      Then came the mines, then came the ore
      Then there was the hard times, then there was a war
      Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
      Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
      Like a rolling river”


  10. I never learned to fully appreciate poetry. As Charles says above about music, it’s a big hole for me, but I love this. Thank you, CM.

    • Thanks, Scott. It has been too long since I’ve disciplined myself to sit down and try to write it. It may not be good, but I find it a very satisfying way to express myself and it has a certain power to lead me into contemplation as I mull it over throughout the day.

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