(NOT to be confused with Bill Bryson’s most excellent book of the same name. His book is awesome & utterly hilarious, though, & I highly recommend it & any of his books!!)
Well, I went for a walk in the woods the other day – often go for walks in the woods, as it happens (I’m an incurably addicted walker, & since my daily walks keep me both cheerful & this side of a psychiatric ward, no one who knows & loves me well would ever suggest I discontinue the practice!!)
Only, this one went a little differently than the usual somewhat routine walk in the woods.
First of all, I did this thing I sometimes do. I made a plan – & then things didn’t go quite according to it.
I got lost, not to put too fine a point on it.
For a while, all was well. I’d gone more or less bushwhacking through the woods (thank goodness for my trusty hiking boots!) & had hung out on some very cool rocky outcroppings.
But then I got lost trying to make my way back to the road. At first I thought “Oh, no worries. I’ll just keep going in this direction & eventually I’ll hit the road; it’s inevitable!”
But that isn’t what wound up happening...
Instead I almost fell into a swamp (twice), saw a path of sorts (probably a deer trail) & followed it along for a while until I couldn’t anymore, & along the way saw some very pretty spots.
I was reminded once again of how utterly incapable I seem to be at staying on “a path.” Always gotta be taking the detours, seems like, &, of course, seeing lots of pretty cool stuff along the way.
At one point, I remember saying to myself, “God only knows where I’m going to wind up!?”
And I thought “Yeah. This whole walk deal is a pretty good metaphor for life, isn’t it? Paths, detours, falling into swamps...”
Finally, I realized I was well & truly lost and, have to admit, started to feel a little scared. All of a sudden, the metaphor idea wasn’t giving me any comfort at all.
But I really didn’t have any choice, so on & on I continued to plunge. I certainly wasn’t going to get home by sitting down in the middle of the woods (or a swamp) and feeling sorry for myself, now, was I??
Finally, there was the road! Halleluja!!
I came out way further up the road than I’d thought I would, &, as soon became clear, had obviously spent quite a bit of time walking in absolutely the WRONG direction entirely (or at least, shall we say, opposite to what I had intended). Sure felt like an idiot…
My walk home was quite a bit longer than I’d thought it would be.
And the metaphor was a lot messier & more unpredictable than I’d had in mind. All of it in actual fact an excellent metaphor for my messy, unpredictable, detour & joy-filled life! (& probably not just mine, hmmm? )
‘Quote of the day’ w. this post: “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell, US folklorist & expert on mythology (1904 - 1987). A few walking quotes here