Freshly returned from a pilgrimage to Transylvania, I recall questions that beckoned me there. Who were the early ones giving voice to the faith that claims me today, and what landscape and history inspired their spiritual quests and convictions 500 years ago? What new discoveries could be unveiled in my heart by visiting these sites and hearing their stories anew? What greater understandings might grow in my life from meeting my siblings in faith in that distant land named for what lies “beyond the forest”?
Back in the U.S. now, with possibly more questions than I’d carted with me while traveling, I am reminded that the same curiosity that leads us out from home often eventually calls us back again. I return, wondering, with equal appetite for discovery, what home will mean now. Now that my eyes have been widened by the Carpathian foothills rolling out under the mists of dawn. Now that I have awakened to the lowing cows each morning, never knowing: are they sounds of complaint or of greeting? Now that my ears have cradled Hungarian words rich and round and wholly uncarved by my desire for definitions and clear meaning. All this and more, I bring back to my home, waiting with its own questions about who I am now and how I have been changed by the roads traveled and the people met along the way.
At home, I sit down to write. About where I have wandered, on foot and in heart, and what I have encountered. My pilgrimage continues. For what is the task of writing but another journey born of curiosity – a desire to discover what lies around the next bend, which words will follow those already written, what new conjugations might occur, what turns in plot or style, grammar or rhythm? What shifts in history or imagination will be glimpsed or prepared by the trail of words being laid now under your own hand and pen?
Take a moment now, whether you are home or traveling afar, to note where curiosity is leading you today. What questions beckon you outward or within? What encounters pique your curiosity? What mysteries are widening the aperture of your heart, inviting you to see the world – foreign or familiar – with pilgrim eyes and new understanding? (To explore the call of curiosity in your own writing more fully, register today to attend the writing retreat July 26-31 focused on “Cultivating Curiosity.”)