Where are you going? The journey begins at your front door. Whether you are going by foot, by car, by train or plane, you have to walk outside your door first. You have to leave the known for the unknown.
Do you have a map? Do you need one? Are you walking on a path others have walked before, or are you blazing new ground, leaving marks for others to follow?
Do you stay outside, skirting around the walls of buildings? Perhaps it feels safer that way.
Sometimes we feel lost among others. Best to stay outside. Sometimes others distract us. Other times, people may join us on our journey, but only for a little while.
They have their own paths to take. They have their own destinations to discover. Their way is their own. Remember that. You can walk alongside for a time, but don’t be dismayed if your paths diverge.
What do you bring with you? What do you need for this journey? A backpack should be big enough. Any more and you’ll be slowed down. The more you carry, the slower you go. This isn’t just about material things. Thoughts, beliefs, preconceptions – they can all be baggage. What are you carrying? Will it help you, or hinder?
The forest is cool and wet. Thankfully you brought a wool sweater. The smell of the leaves reminds you of fall, but that is months away. You wish you could live here. It is so hot where you came from.
What was it like to build this raised path through the forest? How much time did it take? How many people slogged through marshy ground until it was decided to create this?
And then there is here – this took even more time, even more effort. But look – it loops back upon itself. Sometimes our paths are like that. We feel we are going forward, but we have to go backwards for a bit. It is hard to feel that we are making progress when we are in a place like this.
Sometimes the path is rocky and unstable. We have to watch our feet to make sure we don’t fall. Unstable rocks can cause us to be injured, and there isn’t a lot of help to be had out here.
Sometimes in our efforts to get away from people, we remember that we need them. but not just any person, but someone who can help. Those who always have to be rescued cannot be counted on to be of help when we need it. Pick traveling (and life) companions wisely. They have to bear up against hard loads.
Is this a path for walking? Or is it for contemplation?
Can’t it be both?
An evening walk is cooling after a sunny day. The smell of the salt air is refreshing. Shall we catch our supper? Who brought the fishing poles?
Where does this path lead? Who built it? How did they get to their destination before this path? Not many people can walk on this bridge. It is too narrow. It hugs the side of the mountain, barely hanging on.
Yet this one is designed for quiet evening strolls. Many people can walk here at once. Will they take the time to? Will they choose to give up the speed of their cars for the slow pace afforded by their two feet? Sometimes it isn’t about getting there. Sometimes the journey matters more than the destination.
Back in the forest, we find a boulder has been carved into steps. This sculptor’s work is more welcome here than any bit of art we could find in a museum.
Careful around that corner! The path is slippery here. But it is worth it for the view. Imagine the first people to find this place. Others put up the rails to keep you safe. However, what is off the path? What keeps you safe also keeps you from exploring.
Sometimes the rails help. Sometimes they hinder. It is up to you how you view them. Do you feel more secure, or less, because of them? Do they protect you, or imprison you?
And then we near the end of our journey. A hewn path through a stone wall. Sometimes we have to go through instead of around. It takes more effort, but sometimes it is the best way.
Just imagine how many people have walked up these steps.
The final path leads us home.
(all pictures are from Pinterest)