a path less travelled

img_0824.jpgWalking trail, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC – Photo by Viki Atkinson

I don’t remember exactly how the name pathwriter came to be. I was creating this blog, and it had to have a name, and I probably had a thought about writing being a part of my path…or writing being a way to find my path…or something. I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on trying to navigate my personal/spiritual path these last few years, so I guess the name wasn’t a big surprise.

Along the way, I’ve been drawn to walking literal paths as well—the Poet’s Walk at Ayr Mount in Hillsborough, NC; the paths in and around Forest Hill Park and along the James River in Richmond, VA—and recently, I discovered the trails adjacent to the North Carolina Museum of Art here in Raleigh. I’ve been there probably six of the last ten days, and I love the fact that I can drive ten minutes from my house in the city and be walking in the woods. There are some paved paths that are great for an easy stroll (and strollers), but the ones I love are the ones that take you down into the woods and are “paved” with only dirt and gravel and leaves.

Of course, with a blog named pathwriter, I’m always on the lookout for “photogenic” paths that I can use for the blog’s header image. I’ve found a few over the last couple of years, and the museum trails have quite a few lovely spots that I’ve documented. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share some of my path photos here from time to time, so here’s one from the museum trails to start things off. I hope you enjoy looking at my paths as much as I enjoy walking them.


Your body and spirit, subconscious and conscious—every portion of you recognizes home. That is why on the moment of arrival, your entire being relaxes into a contented puddle of joy.
~Richelle E. Goodrich

I’m going home tomorrow. The physical me will arrive in the physical place that used to be my hometown, and I’ll feel the relief and peace and joy that comes of returning to a place that is familiar down to my bones. My spirit has been hungry for this homecoming since long before I left the state of North Carolina, for I left my inner home, lost my inner compass, years before. I’ve been on a journey back to myself for what seems a very long time.

Oddly, the years that I was physically away brought me closer to that internal homecoming. I know that I’ll be sorting out those experiences and weaving them into my soul for some time, but I’ll be doing this at home…a place that feels safe and comforting, a place where perhaps, at last, I can finally come home to myself.

I don’t think my travels are over somehow, and the next leg of my journey remains to be seen. But for now, I’m happy to be going home—in both senses of the word—and I’m more than ready to put my feet up and stay awhile.

ex libris

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I’ve spent the evening packing up books in preparation for my move to North Carolina. It’s going to take a while, because everywhere I turn, in every room, there are a lot of books. Although I’ve let go of a fair number of books in recent years, and I’ve been trying to patronize my local library recently instead of buying books, I’m a little amazed to realize how many books I still have.

Books are spiritual and mental comfort food for me; I’ve rarely been in a place where I didn’t have a book close at hand. In fact, the only exceptions I can think of are two ten-day meditation retreats I attended in Massachusetts back in the mid-90s. (To ensure that we maintained our inward focus, we weren’t allowed to have reading materials.) Reading has always been a big part of my life, and I usually have a couple of books going at any given time.

When I’m stuck emotionally or wrestling with a problem, I often end up at a bookstore, wandering the aisles and waiting for the right book to jump off the shelf Continue reading

time to be

Photo by Lisa Tate

One look at this photo by my friend Lisa, and I was catapulted back through time, years flying by like so many roadside fenceposts. I landed decades in the past at my Granny Rogers’ house at the edge of a small North Carolina town named Creedmoor. The property to the south side of the house sloped down towards a wooded area, and at the bottom of the slope was an old woodshed. Continue reading

quote du jour ~Bach

What are you doing here…? What would you rather be doing, and why aren’t you doing it now?
~Richard Bach

Until the last ten years or so, I couldn’t really relate to these questions.

I’m one of the lucky ones. For most of my life, I’ve made my living doing what I love.  Continue reading

when one thing dies….

When one thing dies all things
die together, and must live again
in a different way,
when one thing
is missing everything is missing,
and must be found again
in a new whole…

~ excerpt from What I Must Tell Myself  by David Whyte

I suffered a loss this weekend, a loss that, to some, might not seem terribly important or tragic, but it hit me hard just the same, and I am grieving.

Continue reading