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of nature; it makes one forget the 'dust and weariness. And I find many helpful customs left by those who have passed through, little suggestions as to comfort. The very road I walk over is the result of their labor. From the stories of the pioneers I see that it was once a wilderness, with high hill, drear desert and dark morass. It is not so now. Here is a traveled road, the hills are brought low, the swamps nearly drained. Some one has done good work. I find that that was part of their business here, to make roads for me to walk over.
This suggests to me that it is part of my business to work on the road. It is by no means plain or easy, especially for children. It is the young, I find, who suffer most, through their ignorance and weakness. If they knew as much as I they would avoid many dangers. I see children wandering off on by-paths. I hear their cries as they wander in the woods. I see them stumble over stones and obstructions in the way. I myself have stumbled over similar ones. I am in no hurry. Why not improve the way a little? One can level it a little, cast out a few stones, lift away a log or so, or we could nail a word to a tree, telling of the danger that is near.
Sometimes I have stopped a long time to help those who came along, over a hard place. It was pleasant work, and I still carry the sweet thanks I had. Or I find by the wayside others who have met with misfortune. They are bruised, or tired, or discouraged. I am in no hurry, why not stop and give them help? A word, a little strength, and then they will be able to go on. Some of the pleasantest memories I expect to carry with me are of these. Often in my life I have been accosted by those whose names and faces I had forgotten, who reminded me that at some time I had helped them.
I am of course passed on my journey by those who are in haste. They urge me on. "Hurry up! Make haste! You'll not get there! You'll miss it!" I ask them, "miss what?" They can't tell me-only that I must hurry. But I find, by and by, as I come up with them, that the thing they were in haste to reach, they do not seem to have found. They have been to California, Colorado, Montana, but I can not see that they have found anything that I have not. When I tried to tell them of the books I read, or the songs I heard, or the beautiful sights I saw, they had seen none of these things, felt no interest. On the whole I found no reason to envy them. I have met many of these anxious people. They are always afraid that there will not be enough to eat at the inn, or beds enough. They are continually fearful, or say, "What if there should be a storm?" or "What if I should be ill?"
But I have found that all this does no good. There is plenty of provision for the traveler who is not too anxious. One day's provision is quite enough at a time. Much of the provision they make, or carry along with them, I see is mouldy, or the weight of it bears them down.
Of course I have had annoyances, disappointments, discomforts and troubles. But many of these are due to my ignorance and inexperience; others to my inattention or carelessness; yet others to the ignorance or inconsiderateness of others; and further to great storms which I can not control. I have stumbled over the stones in the path; I have lost my way, and slept nights in the mountains. But all of this is little compared with the pleasure I have had. And I have learned to attend to my ways, and have learned to bear what I can not avoid. I have found "strength sufficient for
the day," and "with every temptation a way of escape." As the poet says:
"So near is grandeur to our dust,
When duty whispers low Thou must,'
In this journey I have found other provision made for me. In the night I have heard songs, and when discouraged I have been suddenly strengthened; or when I have been standing where two ways met, and I have been in doubt which to take, I have seen a finger point; or when in trouble, I have heard voices. In the presence of nature I have felt the
"Joy of elevated thought."
It is not easy to tell what all this is. I have talked with some who have had the same experiences, and with others who said there was nothing of the kind. They have said it was my own imagination; that all this was nothing but nature. I do not think so, but I do not discuss the question. The unseen is very real to me.
I have asked, and have been asked often: What is the end? Many I know have made a shorter journey than mine. I do not know the end, or what comes next. I have seen little children suddenly stop and disappear. It was certainly something pleasant that awaited them. They had no fear-no cry of terrorrather a joyous look upon their faces as if they were seeing some new thing.
Some men and women have shrunk back, have had fearful looks. But they were chiefly those who were in a hurry, or were anxious. One friend I see now, whose face will ever wear a look of peace. Another, who lived long ago, said, "Life, we've been long together." Another, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit."
This world I have been traveling through is so beautiful, I have found so much to interest me in it, it promises so much in the future, that I am in no haste to leave it. But surely the same One who sent me here has other beautiful worlds which I should equally enjoy. Perhaps the report I have to make of this one will interest those who live there. Perhaps the experience I have gained here will be of value there.
I have had many guide books put into my hands. Some good, some worthless. One friend especially, who went over the road long ago, left words I value above all others. He was one of the pioneers; or, rather, he marked out the new way. Most travelers, I find, try the old path some time before they find the new. It was from him that I learned to consider the lilies, and the birds; and to stop and speak to people. His thought was, that if one felt an interest in every one, helped the weak, or, as he said, loved everybody, the way was more interesting. I certainly have found it so. It has saved me much lost time, and has helped me to find my way. There are many lives of this man written; many explanations of his way; but, on the whole, none of them are necessary. His way explains itself. But I
am sure that there is no world where he is not; and I repeat to myself words of one of the singers:
"I know not where His islands lift
I only know I can not drift
And so, beside the Silent Sea,
No harm from Him can come to me