September 10, 2015

This is How a Wanderer Heals.

Used by Toby with permission from Paula Barkmeier

When a wanderer is hurt, she may try to lie in bed to recover, but she is incapable of such a feat.

A few days at the most, and her feet begin to move of their own accord, insisting she stand, walk—and, finally, wander.

When a wanderer is hurt, the typical pills and potions will not help her, for she feels heartbreak in her bones, and broken bones in her heart. Fear gnaws at her stomach, and a stomach ache seeps into her soul.

Medicine was not made for such chaos.

No, she cannot lie still, and she is loathe to swallow any pill; rather, this is how a wanderer heals:

She puts one foot on the ground, then the other.

She stands; she walks.

And finally, she wanders.

For she does not know how else to be in this world; she does not know how else to exist.

She walks straight ahead, and never looks behind her, and she sheds the layers of her skin.

Packing is an act of catharsis—closing the door a bandage.

Each step strengthens her body; each breath nourishes her spirit; each hour soothes her sadness.

She dies with the sun, and rises with it too—again and again until she is entirely made anew. The oceans cleanse her; the skies consume her, and the stars—oh, the stars give birth to her.

You see, a wanderer knows how to dissolve into the Universe, and the Universe, of course, knows how to put her back together.

And so she does. And so they dance.

And so they do.

And so it goes.

And so they do,

and so they do

and so they do.

The world embraces her; the stars create her. And she dissolves as she walks, and she transforms as she wanders.

As she walks.

As she wanders

as she wanders

as she wanders

as she wanders.

She must, you see. And that is her medicine. The inescapable. The all-consuming. The melancholy rhythm, pounding, humming, coaxing pleading:

“Wander, child.”

She obeys, because that is the magic—the surrender.

She dances to that sweet, sweet melody—oh it is honey on her tongue and oil on her wounds.

And that is her medicine.

And so she walks, and so she wanders.

And so she melts, and so she is born.

And so it goes.

And so it goes

and so it goes

and so it goes.

The Universe consumes her, the wind sighs a lullaby in her ear, the journey carries her—

And so she heals.

And so she heals,

and so she heals

and so she heals.


Relephant Read:

How to Fly: Letter to a Fractured Being.


Author: Toby Israel

Photo: Used with permission from artist, Paula Barkmeier // Alice Popkorn/Flickr


You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Shannon Sep 10, 2015 10:29am

beautiful and comforting

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Toby Israel

Toby Israel is a vagabond and storyteller with a metaphorical closet full of hats. She currently works as a creative facilitator, editor, and writer, and as Chief Storyteller at NuMundo. She is also a full-time lover of movement, food, and words. For the moment, she lives in Costa Rica. (She came for a master’s degree in Media, Peace, and Conflict Studies from the UN-mandated University for Peace—and stayed for the papaya, sunshine, and conscious community.) Share her journey on her website, and on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!