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Wandering Hodge Podge

March 3, 2020

Another Way for week of February 29, 2020

Wandering Hodge Podge

[Editor’s note: Seventh in a ten-part series on physical, mental, relational, and spiritual health.]

I sent this out to newspapers for the fifth Friday in February. If you wonder how often five Fridays in the shortest month happen, it is only once every 28 years. You can find any little factoid wandering around online, or as we used to say, surfing the Internet, and that’s where I got this info.

Our word for this week is wander. I love the hint in that word of freedom and impetus to explore, to go beyond our usual routine or habits and comfort zones, to a brand-new place.

I think we typically think of nature as a place to wander, and I love it, either with a companion or alone. I began those wanderings as an early teenager—walking up a hill on our Indiana farm (my Virginia-born husband would scoff and call it a small rise)—where I would sit at the end of a day pondering my life, future, relationships, hopes, fears, and beliefs. So the physical act of wandering away from our house, barn, and chicken houses to a space where I didn’t go every day allowed me time and space to process life, and dream.

As a couple we enjoy hiking and Virginia is a splendid place to explore trails aplenty. We have not begun to visit all of our state parks—partly because our go-to place is Shenandoah National Park. Now that we have senior passes we can go to any national park for free. Just one of the many benefits of aging. (We landed those passes before the recent price hike, but well worth the investment even at $80 if you travel at all.)

Zion Park, Utah, photo by Melodie Davis

Zion National Park, Utah

My father and mother introduced us to national parks on a six-week family journey to the west coast in 1964, visiting at least 12 parks: Yosemite, Glacier, Crater Lake, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainer, Sequoia, Redwood, Mesa Verde, Petrified Forrest, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, and the Badlands. All are unusual places in which to wander and discover the many natural worlds out there. Since then I’ve checked off about seven additional national parks from my list.

Long ago: Sam’s mother, Tanya, left, showing one of our kittens to friends at school.

Wandering can also refer to just trying something new—without traveling one block or mile or kilometer. Maybe plant a back porch garden—as we’re nearing spring. Wander around a museum you’ve never bothered to visit. My grandson was recently rewarded for good behavior by a trip to a large pet store: not to buy anything, but to see and enjoy a variety of animals and reptiles. Sam would have loved a kitty but with allergies, he had to leave them in the store.

Or, this may seem like an unusual example of wander, but this past Christmas, I put “billfold” on my Christmas list when my husband begged me at the last minute for ideas. When I opened that gift, it was lovely, and had a multitude of pockets and card slots, but I was like, uh, this is so big! How will I ever put it in my purse? Or should I just use it as my purse? No, there are too many things I like to keep with me when I’m out and about. Hadn’t he noticed the size of my purse, and the billfold I had before? Could I change my habits and go lighter using the new billfold as purse? My mind wandered through many options as I deeply wanted to embrace this sweet gift from him.

Could I fit this big billfold into my current purse??

Then I decided to just try it out. It was new territory for me. I went “wandering” into it, with a little trepidation in disappointing him over his gift if it didn’t work out. But now, I love it!

So you never know what a little experimenting and wandering around will bring about. Being open to the new and different can open up innovative options and even worlds.

I hope you feel compelled to spend a little time “wandering” today, even if you must work on an assembly line, in a restaurant kitchen, office, or are home with children. Pause and find something new to ponder or explore or celebrate. Maybe you’ll wander out to the kitchen and just cook up something different for supper. You might enjoy branching out.


How do you “wander”? Why?

What have you learned about yourself or others when allowing your mind, spirit, or body to go wandering (but not philandering!!)


Or, were you ever given a gift you weren’t sure you liked but came to love it?

I’d love to hear your comments here.

If you’ve missed some columns in this series, I will make them all available by email at the series’ conclusion. You can request it now and I’ll send it to you in a few weeks. Contact me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  



  1. And now my mind is wandering as I ponder the possibilities of where to wander and I can incorporate more wandering into my life.
    Loved it!

  2. Excellent, Trisha! 🙂 Let me know if anything unusual turns up!

  3. Mike wrote: I too have been through many national parks on both sides of the 49th and I live less than 2 hours NW of Glacier (Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park) which is still one of of my favourites.

    • Mike, if you see this, I’m not sure how your comment got deleted; I saw it, approved it, and then couldn’t find it anymore EXCEPT on my smart phone where it showed up as a photo with a note from WordPress saying did I want to delete it permanently. Well, no! So I simply typed in your message above, and thank you for commenting!!

  4. Yesterday I had a set schedule in mind, but my sister called and said she was driving to the beach (20 minutes away) with two Pennsylvania friends. I wandered away from my schedule, saw a placid Atlantic Ocean, chatted with friends, ate a lunch I didn’t have to prepare + sold a book. I came back refreshed after a grueling 3 days, an added bonus!

    About billfolds: My purse is big and sort of heavy. When I go on errands, sometimes I take a wee drawstring bag from Fiji, gift from a friend. Contents; credit cards and license, cellphone, and keys on the side. You packed a lot of diverse ideas into a clever post, Melodie. 🙂

    • Yes, a hodge podge, and it is somehow getting a nice following. 🙂 I love the way your day evolved!

      And yes, I love just taking the smaller billfold on certain errands or into stores, much lighter and I don’t have a big bag on my shoulder.

      I had to smile at myself last week at Mother’s dining room where we sisters had our lunch while she is at health care. Mom usually takes her big pocketbook to pay cash for her lunch, and one of my sisters said something about she should just bring her wallet. But I still like my big bag for hairbrush, pens, tissues, gum, and my little black book. I’m not 38. 🙂

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