I do not see the road ahead

One of my favorite Thomas Merton quotes begins, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.” That’s certainly true now in this global pandemic. What should I be doing? How much distance do I put between me and the virus. Am I washing my hands enough. Have I touched a surface where the virus is living? I did my best to avoid people today and that took on a different walking route than I have been on in a number of years.

Today I found myself walking along the railroad tracks in our village. These tracks were once a part of the Pennsylvania Rail Road. Now the tracks are part of the Western New York and Pennsylvania Rail Road. There’s the main north and south track and a siding which today was occupied by tanker cars. Looking south the tracks approached the horizon and invited me to think of what lay beyond.

What does lay beyond this present moment that we are living in? The world is already different than it was just thirty days ago. We are living in a way that none of us have every lived before. Will this be the new normal? I dare say we will never return to what was.

My Dad told me that when he was a boy in the 1930’s the King and Queen of England came through Franklinville on this road bed. I’m sure the tracks have been replaced since then. If these tracks could talk what would they say.


Walking is therapy. In the past six years I’ve found that the more I walk the more content I am. Winter makes it harder to walk but this winter has been more open than most. I’m averaging 3.4 miles per day. Some days are too cold and some days are too icy but today was one of those days of full sun and temperatures climbed into the mid thirties. I have a membership at the YMCA in nearby Olean but I prefer to walk outside. Sunshine is part of the tonic that aids my good health too. Today was full sun and bright blue skies.

I’m a person who is inclined to depression and walking is therefore therapeutic. Today I prayed as I walked too. The repetition of a short prayer as I walk is a form of mindfulness and keeps negative thoughts at bay. Walking spurs my creativity too. Sunshine and walking are the ingredients of peace in my life.

“He thrives before the sun, And his shoots spread out over his garden.

– Job 8:16