“May the road rise to meet you” and other expressions that seem to be metaphorical but turn out to actually be quite literal.


This morning as I was driving I got the very definite sensation that I was fixed in place and the road was flying toward me.

I was cruising along at 70, so I know I wasn’t standing still. But it sure seemed that way.

A couple months ago, someone said to me “You’re trying so hard, you put so much into it, and that’s good. But you need to be okay where you are. You need to let your future come to you.” A rather personal observation, especially since I had literally just met this person and she and I had only spoken casually for a few minutes.

Yet the comment was spot on. I had been trying very hard. For the past year, I’ve spent every waking moment and most of my sleeping moments trying with everything I’ve got to create a new life for myself.

Some of the people closest to me hadn’t picked up on this, at least not consciously. But somehow this stranger did.

This exchange came at a moment when I was feeling somewhat stuck. Stalled. I had been doing everything I could to keep moving forward but felt like I was not making progress.

So I tried harder. Still nothing changed.

I was pushing on a spring.

All of my efforts were compressing the coils, tighter and tighter.

Things had begun to move again, but backwards. Into thoughts and feelings I thought I had left behind. Part of me knew this was bad juju. Yet another part was pleased. At least things are moving, right?

I had spent years inwardly focused, so the discomfort was strangely comforting; a nest made of barb wire.

I had taken a serious detour.

Have you ever just gotten in the car and starting driving, with no specific destination in mind?

That pretty much sums up what I’ve been doing since last January.

It’s a cool thing to do. You see some pretty interesting things along the way.

And when you find yourself on a long empty stretch of highway and open it up to about 130, it’s a real rush, I can assure you.

But occasionally you find a fallen redwood blocking your path.

Different people deal with obstacles in different ways.

Some might try hacking at it with a plastic knife they found in the glove compartment, or by yelling at it to move, or waiting for a helicopter with a winch to magically appear and move it for them.

Or if you’re me, by burrowing deeply into the redwood, setting up camp and living there for a month or two.

There are plusses and minuses to this strategy. To the positive, you get to know everything there is to know about a redwood from the inside. On the downside, it’s dark in there and you don’t have a light.

So you have to create your own.

Once you figure out how to do that, the redwood explodes into matchsticks, spontaneously ignites and turns to ash.

You’re back on the road.

And then one day you’re driving along and suddenly you are fixed in place and the road is flying toward you.

All that energy stored in the spring you’ve been pushing so hard for so long has finally let loose with enough force to cause the laws of physics to go on vacation.

You realize it only felt like you were standing still. You are actually moving faster than the speed of light.

And what you’re seeing is your future coming to you.

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