Today's prompt is 'owl'. I'm not sure I'm a wise one, though I have learned a thing or two in my nigh on sixty six years.

The prompts for the three previous days were 'favorite book', 'wanderlust', and 'horizon', each prompt leading to the next. For what is wanderlust but the seeking of new horizons, new places to see and old haunts to revisit? My feet and seat have been too long in one place; I yearn to wander. I want to stretch the horizons of my eyes and mind and heart.

From time immemorial we have done that with backpacks and books, oftentimes together.

If I judge my favorite books according to the ones that keep drawing me back, Tolkien's pentology of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings ranks near the top. I did my first walking tour of Middle Earth in 1966 or thereabouts. I was in high school, and spending significant chunks of my summers at Deerfoot Lodge in the Adirondack Mountains. Parts of The Fellowship of the Ring I read while walking the six miles between camp and the Village of Speculator during my junior counselor year. Later on I reached back to The Hobbit; when The Silmarillion was published I devoured it.

Since then I have revisited Middle Earth at least once every other year. I finished the Lord of the Rings last week for the goodness-knows-how-manyeth time. Reading Tolkien helps me keep track of what is important and what is not.

In recent years I have made at least three trips though the Seven Realms of Charlotte English's Draykon series and a couple through Harry Potter's adventures in the magical pathways of England.

But the book (or books) at the top of the list has to be the Bible, which I have read in totality every year since 1974. This year is trip number forty one. The Bible helps me understand that my wanderlust comes from being a stranger and sojourner on this Earth, an exile like the Elves of Middle Earth. This is not fully my home, at least not yet. I live in a finite and broken world with eternity set in my heart. To say it another way, yes, this is my home, but not completely, not yet. I look forward to a resurrection and a new heaven and new earth in which righteousness dwells, a righteousness that means justice for the oppressed and release for the captives. It is no wonder that the last book of the Bible closes with the words, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

There are longings in us beyond our understanding. And so, year after year I follow the footsteps of Abraham and the prophets, of Jesus and the apostles. And with steps and with camera I wander the paths of this good earth, which yet contains much beauty in spite of all our efforts to the contrary.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!