Traveler, there is no path.

On the subway ride home, I stumbled across a familiar quote in the book I am reading. The quote is from a poem by Antonio Machado, one of the great Spanish poets of the Generación del ’98.

Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.

Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

I had just finished my workout, during which I had muttered under my breath with exasperation, “Yeah, remember? I can’t do single-leg deadlifts with my left leg,” and he looked at me sternly.

“Of course you can. I’ve seen you do it. Maybe your left leg doesn’t do them as well as your right leg yet. Maybe it doesn’t look how you want it to look. Maybe it needs more help and support from time to time. Maybe it feels shitty. But I don’t want to hear you say you can’t do it. Every day, just by doing, you’re getting better. You’re learning, you’re practicing. Walk the path.”

I got home and stumbled upon Maria Popova’s reminder about Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece, “a minimalist, maximally wonderful allegory at the heart of which is the emboldening message that true love doesn’t complete us, even though at first it might appear to do that, but lets us grow and helps us become more fully ourselves.”

I thought about being able to walk on my own, roll out my edges on my own. Taking shape before ambling down the path of life side by side with someone else.

Though he never answers it, Machado writes:

Between living and dreaming there is a third thing. Guess it.

themissingpiecemeetsthebigo24  themissingpiecemeetsthebigo23

Images from Shel Silverstein’s book, borrowed from Brain Pickings. 


from Times Alone: Selected Poems

Cielo y tierra pasarán.
Cuando cielo y tierra pasen
mi palabra quedará.
¿Cuál fue, tu palabra?
¿Amor? ¿Perdón? ¿Caridad?
Todas tus palabras fueron
una palabra: Velad.

Heaven and earth will pass away.
When heaven and earth have passed away,
my word will still remain.
What was your word?
Love? Forgiveness? Affection?
All your words were
one word: Awaken.

post postscript:

For fun,

The absence of vices adds so little to the sum of one’s virtues.

— Antonio Machado

Leave a Reply