A Wandering Stranger and An Open Door

I enjoy wandering, mostly with my mind, because my mind is willing, but my body is lazy.

Perhaps because my body wandered a lot when I was younger, got very fed up of carrying my home in a bag, and now it just wants to relax and rest.

Sinking deeply into a comfy chair is my ideal luxury.

Mind you the comfy chair my body actually sinks into is an ancient crumbling sofa made for a dollhouse. It’s tiny, but then again my house is tiny. The springs aren’t springy, but they like to poke me. I did consider getting a new sofa. I consider it every time one of those nagging new sofa adverts insists that I do so… but it costs money, I know it’s worth it to be comfortable, still… then I have to find one which is just right, and sometimes just right only happens after years of breaking a new sofa in. The mind is willing, the body can’t be bothered. What I have will do, until it doesn’t and then I’ll just lie on the floor.

My tiny house is located just off kilter of the middle of nowhere. I like that. I have lived in the centre of everything, now I don’t. Time sometimes stands completely still here. So do people. They stand still staring at the wide open spaces and just breathe it all in, then cough a bit. A cough in the middle of the night here can travel very far.

At night all is very quiet. During the day, since my house is near a busy road, things are zappingly noisy as this stretch of road has no speed limit. But at night you could lie in the road and fall asleep, and unless you’re an incredibly deep sleeper, you’d hear a vehicle miles before it arrived and have plenty of time to roll into a ditch before being squashed and left there for the wildlife to pick your squished mess clean. The ditches are covered in brambles and nettles, so it might hurt, but not as much as being squashed.

People occasionally walk along this stretch of road. I’ve done it. It’s not easy. The sense that you may get clipped by a speeding vehicle is always present. And the walk is a long one, a hike, to get to the nearest village. But a scenic one. Some people walk from one village to another. There are buses and a train, but they are intermittent. Not everyone drives. So, walking is sometimes the fastest way to get from village A to village B. That’s a long walk, even longer at night because there are very few sources of light and it gets very dark. Spooky dark where every sound, even a leaf drifting down to the ground, is amplified. Even the mist here is noisy once the moisture settles on plants. It sounds like every creature in the ground is coming out of its hiding place to get you. And a fox cry at night can chill you to the bone, so can the cold.

People are a rare sight or sound late at night. There are neighbours, but at night, just like me, they’re hibernating in their house. A doorbell ringing is a bewildering shock. The first thought is – Someone is lost – rather than – Oh shit, it’s the Boogeyman. If it is the Boogeyman, he’s probably lost. People get lost here all the time. Even during the day. Even with gps and sat nav. Addresses are vague and roads with one name go on for miles.

Last night someone rang the doorbell. It was one O’clock in the morning. WTF!?! My partner went to the door, opened it and loomed menacingly over the doorbell ringer. I followed closely behind, a stranger in these here parts is something to see.

A rather brave young man apologised for the intrusion, said he saw the lights on in the house and hoped he had not woken us up, but he had missed his train from village A to village B and had decided to walk to his destination, but halfway there his courage had faltered and he had begun to doubt the wisdom of such an endeavour. Was the village he was trying to reach far?

My partner and I looked at him as though he was a crazy alien who had just arrived from another planet. That’s how locals look at non-locals here, they look at locals that way too. It’s the local look. But crazy aliens are quite common in these parts, this is one of those places where people come for weekends away… and the locals are crazy too, many of the locals are crazy aliens who came here and never left, like us, so… you know… whatever.

The wandering stranger didn’t want anything from us, other than to know how much further he would have to travel and if he was heading in the right direction. He had a couple of miles to go, and he was indeed going the right way. That’s it. He had the information he needed, it seemed to lift his spirits, and off he went in his mist-speckled glasses with relief and a thank you.

My partner wondered if he should have offered to drive the wanderer the rest of the way. He’d done this once before, but that wanderer had been trying to cover the distance with a broken leg in a cast and had rung our doorbell to ask us to call a cab. So his needs were different. It was earlier in the evening when that happened and my partner had not had two large glasses of wine to unwind after a week of non-stop work on only a few hours of sleep. So…

My partner could not offer to drive this wanderer because it was unwise for him to drive. But this wanderer did not ask for that kind of help. He did not want a hero to swoop in and save him. He was the hero on his quest. He just needed some encouragement along the way.

This incident perturbed me slightly. As unusual events which break the flow of normal do. Not greatly, just a bit off kilter like my house. And it triggered a memory of something I had read the day before. An article on astrology about the change of signs of Mars. Which I linked in my mind to the change of signs of Mercury. Mercury has just moved into Sagittarius after a long slog through Scorpio. Sagittarius is the sign of the ever wandering philosopher. I kind of saw the doorbell ringing stranger as embodying that archetype. He had a large backpack on his back, he had a bit of the philosopher look about him, and he seemed happy in his adventuring. Mars has just moved into Libra. The article suggested opening a door as a ritual to let the new energy into our lives. My partner and I opened the door to a stranger, and new energy did indeed come in even if the stranger didn’t.

This odd coincidence amused me, especially as when I read the article I liked the idea of the ritual opening of a door, but knew I wouldn’t do it, mostly because I would forget, and because I’m too lazy for that sort of thing. The mind finds it interesting and may be willing to try it, but the body… just can’t be arsed. Yet the body was made to be arsed by an adventurous soul who embodied the energy to be let in, and so it was done.

I wondered a long time about that stranger, I feel asleep wondering about him… and this morning I wondered if he reached his destination, and was perhaps now off on a new quest.

He left me with a lasting impression… a beckoning to open the door to the wandering adventurer within who in some ways has been sleeping a little too deeply and might only wake up if a truck runs over it. That would be too late. Mind you… that would lead to a very different sort of adventure… perhaps.

Open the door, and let the adventure in!