We are now in Oberlin, Ohio, excited about revisiting and exploring the place where the Pearl family began--where Cora and I received our college education, fell in love during our last year of school, and came back to get married a year later. Oberlin is the place that I envision when I think of the Neil Young lyric "All my changes were there..."
It is here that I was first exposed to a larger world. It is here where I formed my ideals, developed the foundation of my belief system, and discovered that there are others who share in my passion for critical thought and deep creativity. Here is where I met, for the first time, people from radically different backgrounds and cultures. Within this safe, corn-field-surrounded campus, I awoke, over and over again, to the early callings of my Soul.
But that was then and this is now.
Right now, church bells are ringing in the distance as I contemplate what my dear friend Rebecca said last night about the Pearl family odyssey.
She suggested that this entire year, from the clearing out of our material belongings and uprooting of daily habitat and routines, to the exploratory road trip we are on right now, characterizes what is called a Wanderjahre in German: a year of wandering that is usually taken by young graduates between the completion of their formal education and the beginning of a settled career and lifestyle. It is the proverbial year to travel abroad and "figure out what you want to do next." By embracing occasional periods of "wandering" that inevitably arise over the course of a lifetime, people avoid getting stuck in ruts and falling asleep at the wheel of life.
Thank you for that term, Rebecca. Although it is usually used to describe an individual's journey, it feels like we have been on a family wanderjahre--our year of wandering (and wondering).
It reminds me of a bumper sticker that I used to see often in Woodstock: "Not All Who Wander Are Lost."