Where There Is No Path


Wind-Wafted Wild Flowers by Muriel Strode

I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.

Infinitely will I trust nature’s instincts and promptings, but I will not call my own perversions nature.

Each receives but that which is his own returning.
Each hears but that which is the echo of his own call.
Each feels but that which has eaten into his own heart.

I do not bemoan misfortune. To me there is no misfortune. I welcome whatever comes; I go out gladly to meet it.

It is no stigma to wear rags; the disgrace is in continuing to wear them.

Say not that this or that thing came to thwart you; it only came to test you.

There is hope for that genius who must overcome poverty, but there is almost none for that one who must overcome wealth.

The Aeolian must be in your breast, else the winds are in vain.

A great work demands a great sacrifice, and who is not capable of a great sacrifice is not capable of great work.

The earth shall yet surrender to him, and the fates shall do his will, who marches on, though the promised land proved to be but a mirage and the day of deliverance was cancelled. The gods shall yet anoint him, and the morning stars shall sing.

Not alone for that which is mine will I rejoice, but for that which has been withheld, which was coveted and longed for but denied, for I am what I am for having had to rise superior to the need.

His to rejoice with exceeding great joy who plucks the fruit of his planting, but his the divine anointing who watched and waited and toiled and prayed,—and failed,—and can yet be glad.

I would travel in all climes that I might return and tell you of the beauty of my own little garden plot.
I would explore heaven and hell that I might come back and tell you what a charming place is the earth.

Wishing will bring things in the degree that it incites you to go after them.

If the populace marched in file, ’twere my signal to break from the ranks.
If a thousand generations did thus and so, ’twere my cue to do otherwise.

I longed to build as you had builded, but I knew that your joy lay in the conception of your own design.
I longed to follow where your feet had trod, but I had watched your exhilaration as you felled a new way.
I longed to do that thing you did and be that thing you are, but I knew life’s fulness was yours because you were yourself.

Let my grave be unmarked; I fear not to be forgotten.

Better than tiaras—the diadem of freedom.
Better than broad acres—a garden of heartsease.
Better than mines of gold—a mint of dreams.
Better than bars of molten silver—the silver of a laugh.
Better than strings of pearls—the crystal of a tear.
Better than bands of choristers—a lute in the soul.

I am life’s mystery,—and I alone am its solution.
I am the dreamer of dreams,—and I am dreams come true.
I am the supplicant,—and I am the god that answers prayers.

Originally published in The Open Court, Vol XVII (No. 8), August, 1903