Paths. I love paths. Dirt or grass or boardwalks or brick or stone. Looking down the path to the horizon line, watching as it converges on an invisible spot. Makes me wonder what’s at that point? Does the path curve? lead out onto a beach? wind back into the woods? What comes at the end of the path?
And then there’s the journey along the path. I love walks that wander through woods, though recent path walks have led me through swamps and sloughs and beach brush.
Climbing down steps in a National Park, steps built by the Civilian Conservation Corps under the New Deal of the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Those men made some otherwise inaccessible views available to Park guests. I feel such a sense of pride and history when I walk those paths.
Paths where I have to climb over large tree roots. I recall walking on such a path with our camping buddies as we made our way to a secluded bay of Lake Superior. My husband and I had started ahead, but my sense of balance wasn’t completely steady, and the sound of laughter and chatter approached from behind as the kids all made their way to the beach, passing us to reach it first. Stepping between the tree roots – sometimes my shoe just fit – delightful! – and sometimes I stood on roots themselves. Big beautiful trees. That path led to a fantastic day with great friends.
Walking on a boardwalk above the water of a nearby slough – looking for alligators or fish or turtles. Birds overhead, a baby owl. Lovely colorful flowers and spanish moss strands hanging down from the branches. Blisters on my heels so I walked barefoot, the wood so smooth under my feet.
One of my favorite paths – a small stone and pebble walkway to the cabin I stayed in for my get-away. The whole weekend was magical, and the path that led to the front door guided me there.
The path that wound through the woods near the outdoor theater. Up the hill, on white gravel rock, making it easy to see in the dark when coming back down after the show was over. And the other path built there, winding in a sort of circle away from the indoor theater. I lost my sense of direction as it curved around.
Many of these paths I’ve walked take me away from daily noise. I first enjoy the silence, then when I’m listening more closely, I hear the sounds along the path – dripping water, birds chirping, leaves blowing, wings flapping. A plop and I turn quickly to see what I missed. The path is not silent, after all.
I’m not certain where my life path is taking me. Turns out, I don’t need to know. I’m trying not to focus on the horizon spot but to enjoy the walk along the way. To listen. To observe. To delight. To appreciate. Of course, I’m not walking this path alone either. Friends and family accompany me for big parts of it, and Jesus is always by my side. He knows where we’re headed, and so I’ll just enjoy the path and its beauty. If it gets dark or scary, with trees looming in towards me or overgrown underbrush against my legs, I’ll hold His hand more tightly. But mostly, I’ll simply enjoy the path.