FOLLOW YOUR OWN ROAD…wherever it leads
There’s a thoroughly charming book by the wonderful children’s author, Arnold Lobel, that I read to Kate and Abigail when they were little, called Grasshopper on the Road. It’s about a grasshopper who decided one morning to go on a journey…
“I will find a road,” he said, “I will follow that road wherever it goes.”
On his journey, Grasshopper meets all sorts of creatures who are zealots about one thing or another and who want Grasshopper to agree with them, join their “clubs” or follow their “rules.”
He meets a group of beetles who fervently believe that “morning is best” and that no other time of day is nearly as good. They carry signs that say, “Make Mine Morning” and “Kiss Me It’s Morning.”
“I love afternoon too,” Grasshopper says. “And night is very nice.”
The beetles tell him he can never, ever be in their club.
Later, while resting on a mushroom, Grasshopper meets three butterflies who sit on the same mushroom at the same time every day and talk about the same things. They make Grasshopper move to another mushroom. They invite Grasshopper to meet them near their mushroom every day and do everything the way they always do it.
“I am sorry,” says Grasshopper, “but I will not be here. I will be moving on. I will be doing new things.”
Two dragonflies tell Grasshopper that it is “sad” that they are zipping and zooming far above him and he is “only walking.” ”
It is not sad,” says Grasshopper, “I like to walk…I can see flowers growing by the side of road.”
“What flowers? What road?!” they shout and zoom off.
At the end of the day, Grasshopper lies down to rest. He knows that in the morning the road will still be there, taking him on and on to wherever he wants to go.
So what about us? It’s hard not to get sucked in by zealots, hard not to fall for other people’s ideas about what’s “right,” hard not to become entrenched with one way of thinking, one way of seeing the world.
But if we are to live fully, to contribute our own particular gifts, to change and be changed by the world, it’s critical for us to be agile, inventive, explorers and adventurers, to be open to the possibilities each day brings. Or better yet, to make them up!
To find our own road and follow that road wherever it goes…
(Whatever you do, watch out for those beetles, okay?)