What goes on the cover of a book is one of the crucial decisions any author makes. It has to grab the viewer immediately as well as conveying a fairly accurate idea of what the book is about. My book ranges over so many topics, some of them very complex and others somewhat abstract. I was at a loss as to where to go with a cover until one of my readers suggested that it is very much about the journey. That resonated well, so I proceeded to trawl through thousands of stock photos on the internet to find something that felt right. I had no definite idea what I was looking for when I started apart from views of paths and remote roads. I trusted that somehow it would become clear to me as I clicked along patiently. A pattern emerged of photos that felt right. They included an image of a sunlit path going forward, leading into murky areas which give way in the distance to light and beauty.
For me this very much captures the journey of life. There are times of relative clarity. Inevitably things go downhill and I begin to wonder if I’ve taken a wrong turn. I struggle on and after a greater or lesser amount of time, things gradually ease up. This cycle repeats, which is why the saying that the journey is the destination captures a basic wisdom.
I was in college when I first discovered the great pleasure of walking and talking. Villanova has a green campus, which makes such walking all the more congenial. Toronto has a great system of parks and walks, which relieve the hard surfaces of city streets. Walking in West Africa was only done in the morning or late afternoon, but the scent of tropical trees and flowers was intoxicating.
Through the years, I have continued to savor the many hours that I have spent walking with friends, discussing the meaning of life, exploring our understanding of the flow of our lives, and witnessing the beauty of Nature encountered. Now that I live in Wicklow, the ‘Garden County’ of Ireland, walking has taken on an even greater satisfaction. It is a hilly county, and hillwalking is a very popular pastime. Gear for the Irish weather is a basic requirement, but there’s as much time spent taking in the spectacular views as there is talking.
So this cover on my book very much captures the enthusiasm for walking that has enlivened my inner journey. And hopefully the book itself will give you many topics of conversation for talking and walking with others as you travel the road of your own search for the meaning in and of your life.