My father-in-law was a practical man of few words, a “just the facts” kind of man. When he retired and spent much of his time meandering around the county, us kids used to accuse him of wandering aimlessly. He replied to our chides with, “I have purpose.”
Okay, so this brings me to the many meanings of the word and concept of meandering. Sometimes my brain is an alliteration machine so I wonder is meandering just messing about? Is meandering, mixed up? Maybe meandering is courting moonbeams.
If meandering is wandering about, I wonder if it’s also about wonder, and curiosity, and thinking and thought, as much as it is wandering in the vagabond sense. When we hear our back property alarm sounding, we usually know our younger cat is meandering and it usually worries me because you know what they say about curiosity and cats.
I think meandering must look visually like the way creative people think. It’s a circular and random pattern rather than a linear one that’s easily understood. Meandering might be a ridiculously scattered and winding foray on the way from here to there.
Around what, do we meander? What is the center that we’re traversing?
Is meandering the fact that there is no point or focus? Or is meandering the very best of complex thought?
Meandering seems the very definition of internet culture. You can’t just look up one thing, on the internet. You’ve heard of click-bait. We all get distracted when looking up something on Google, or Bing, or whatnot. One thing leads to another then to another, infinitum.
I wonder if meandering is simply living in “what’s next” mode? I don’t really know, but what I do know is, the word, meandering describes something inherent in my personality.
The origins of the word, meander, is from the Greek, maiandros, specifically referring to the Menderes River, noted for its winding course. So meandering, as my father-in-law knew, is not only wandering about without definite aim. More-so, I think that meandering is following a winding, curved, intricate, and indefinite course.
In our traipsing about, my husband and I are known to take the long way around to get where we’re going. It’s our way of enjoying the journey. We avoid interstates and freeways, selecting sinuous roads that have character.
We’ve seen many a moving landscape on our road trips, going from an ordinary here, to a commonplace there. Just by taking the circuitous route in our life’s journey, we’ve seen things that are just not there on the straight, faster way.
Speaking of seeing things, the most intimate way to see a landscape is to ditch the vehicle and peregrinate or traverse it on foot. I would like to take every person who litters for a walk with me. It’s a wholly different view when you’re walking between a road and its natural berm than speeding along a highway with your eye trained toward your destination, a human GPS tracker.
As confusing as a highway roundabout can be, it’s never boring and there’s something freeing about rambling, roving, and roaming around the center of a town, city or village, to the outskirts. Roundabout is part and parcel of my essay-writing style. I circle around a concept, knowing all along that I’ll get back on topic sooner or later. But there’s so much more to investigate between here and there. Twists and turns, bends and forks in the journey, are where the wonder is.
Going the long way was frowned upon when I was growing up. It was called gallivanting, and it wasn’t economical as to time. It was cheaper to take the direct route, but I preferred the “back road.” So, it’s possible that people of a utilitarian nature, find meandering, a waste of time.
Au contraire my beloved, meandering is where the meat of the meal, is. Try it.
Extravagate beyond the wall of your closed and customary choices. Roam a bit beyond the bounds of your reasonable point of view.
Expand your comfort zone and go to a joint or a dive instead of a restaurant for lunch. Drive through the city instead of around it. Go to an art museum after the ballgame.
Take a drive down an unfamiliar road, just to see what’s there. Meander a little and let becoming rich with wonder, be your purpose.