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Monday, May 3, 2010

The Path


It was a lovely path, indeed. An inviting dirt trail in the woods...off the beaten track...that I happened to encounter. Wild dogwood and other colorful woodland flowers lined both sides. Towering trees flaunted their lush, leafy greenery ...providing welcomed dappled shade. The waters from a cool stream splashed nearby. A family of white-tail deer popped their heads out from behind the bushes...unsure as to proceed or dash away. "Who is this interloper?" they seemed to wonder. "Is she safe or does she portend danger for us?" The gentle path meandered up a steep slope to the top of a hill. I could not see the other side.  Like the wary deer, I wondered: "Is it safe or does it portend danger for me?"

What was on the other side of this innocent looking path? A treacherous ravine?  A bear cave?  A pack of coyotes? A nest of rattle snakes? A wretched tangle of thorny brambles and poison ivy?  A crazed killer? (We all know they like to hide out in the woods to snag their human prey.) Would this seemingly serene, easy terrain suddenly become more difficult? Would I have to stumble over fallen rocks, dead trees, mud, tall prickly weeds?

Or did the path abruptly end? Would I have to turn around and hike all the way back?  Did I have enough water? Would it get dark before I could find my way out? Would I become lost in this solitary woods?  Would this sweet little path become my undoing? Should I simply turn around and not even bother to follow the path?

Thinking back to my hesitation as I stood at the trailhead of this quiet path in the woods, I am reminded that we all have decisions to make about which paths to follow in our lives. Many people settle for the easy road. Or at least the course they think will be the smoothest. While others prefer the way that offers more of a challenge. Not knowing where it will lead makes it even more enticing. More of an adventure. Some folks insist on knowing everything about the path before they embark upon it. Still others enjoy the thrill of traveling where they have never been...dangers, pitfalls and all.

I suppose most of us traverse through life following a variety of paths. Sometimes we'll opt for the dull and unexciting but safe and secure way. Other times we'll feel enterprising and pursue a more daring route. A lot of people trudge through life like sheep following others on well-populated paths. Those who are bolder, prefer to explore the path not so heavily trodden. It's scary. It's often lonely. It's filled with surprises. Sometimes they're called foolhardy and rash. Sometimes the path will end unexpectedly. But that doesn't stop the risk-takers. They thrive on new and exciting challenges. Forging down the path least taken affords the seeker an opportunity for more personal reward and self-fulfillment.

Some of us amble our way contentedly through life while others charge headlong with the fury and passion of a lovesick rhinoceros. How we explore life is different for all of us. As for me...did I follow the path in the woods? Of course. And I promptly came upon a large rattle snake slithering across the trail. I quickly backed away, not knowing if more were in the bushes. I patiently waited while the big guy crossed the road and then I continued on my way, carefully watching my steps. But in the woods...you should always watch your steps carefully...that's just a given. Eventually the neat little path gave way to a rutted, rock-strewn, muddy and very narrow trail. Finally, the path ended. And I found myself gazing upon a small but absolutely beautiful waterfall, sparkling in a beam of sunlight like jewels in a brilliant rainbow of color. Amazing. The path had led me to the secret of the woods. It was worth the hike.                                                       

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17 comments:

Wow, that was awkward said...

Cool. My 'path' winds around in all different directions and magically changes direction at will. I never know for sure where it will lead, but I sure love finding out.

My problem with any hike (and there are tons here in Colorado) is that I never want to turn around. I always want to see what is around the next bend. So I have to plan on a lot of trails that are loops.

Sarah said...

I was never given an easy path in life, but I know all the hardship was worth it. It just takes a while and a lot of work before one can see it. Nice post and metaphore.

steelxmagnolia said...

Our journeys unfold in most amazing ways. Looping back is never an option. Too many 'if onlys'. Face the sun and imagine the possibilities.

Lovely post. Cheers!

Wombat Central said...

Rattlers and prickers and logs, OH MY! ;) Thanks for stopping by my page today. I enjoyed seeing your beautiful pictures and hearing you rap. You're one hip chick!

Michael said...

Oh my god, you're brilliant! Love it.

ReformingGeek said...

Ok. Ok. I'll stop tormenting you on hikes.

**slithers off**

;-)

This was a nice post and the photos were perfect.

Cinner said...

What a gorgeous secret in the woods. We never know where those paths will take us, but often to treasures for sure. have a great day.

Star Child said...

Hi there!

Thank you for your comment on my blog.

I am following you! Your blog looks interesting, and a lot of fun.

I will enjoy reading around your blog! x

CatLadyLarew said...

I've definitely taken a variety of paths throughout my life. Some have ended up in dead ends, but many more have offered up beauty... oh, and I've had to backtrack a lot!

Willow said...

I just love your blog and yes I have become a follower. Thank you for the comment you made on my blog and joining mine.

Willow

Jenny said...

Great story! I really felt like I was on the path with you! I really enjoyed the picture of the waterfall!

Joanne said...

This reminded me of my favorite poem..."The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.

Bombshellicious said...

Hi Boomer Pie, thanks for commenting on my blog .... love yours too xx

diney said...

great metaphor for life and the paths we chose. Awesome photo - it must have been really uplifting to suddenly come across the waterfall in all it's magnificence.

gayle said...

Love your pictures!! My path has been pretty much straight and narrow with a few twists on my part!!

Barb said...

Hi,

Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. I appreciate you following me and i am following you also.

Great post.

Brenda Grolle said...

Wonderful perspective. Sometimes it pays to take that chance, doesn't it?

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