While at a mountain resort, I determined that I wanted to go on a particular hike that was mapped out on our resort literature. With my husband, our picnic lunch, some water and the folded up the trail map, we set forth. The directions posted at the entrance to the trail were a bit confusing because it also indicated the golf courses’ directions. We stood at the entrance debating which arrow we were to follow. Finally, my husband, who is a much better navigator than I will ever be, picked the path we would take. I was not fully convinced this was the path, but again, I trusted my husbands’ instinct. We were in the forest, on a trail that paralleled a gorgeous river and circled a mountain. It was beautiful.
About 30 minutes into the trek, that I estimated should take about an hour to the designated picnic site and then another hour after that back to the start of the trail, we encountered some logging men. They assured us that we would find our picnic site, as everything ‘circled around’ in their words. We continued along, conversing and observing and generally enjoyed the quiet.
We eventually came upon a sign indicating the picnic site we were looking for was ‘that way,’ so we happily continued along. As we rounded each successive bend, we became increasingly dismayed at not finding the anticipated site. As we kept walking we both knew we were not where we thought we were and alarmingly, we didn’t know where we actually were. After 2 hours our trail emerged onto a major road. As we flipped and turned and scoured our trail map once again, trying to determine where in the heck we were, a small truck driven by an elderly man accompanied by his wife thankfully pulled over to inquire if we needed help. Yes! I practically yelled. We were indeed a long way from where we wanted to be and they kindly offered us the tailgate on their truck to transport us back 15 Kilometers! to our resort.
I love to look at these kinds of things as metaphors and mine them for meaning, direction or purpose. What I came away with from this little adventure is as follows:
1) Consult Your Own Inner Compass: I did not check in fully with my own GPS (my ‘knowing’) at the very beginning. I was not convinced we picked the right trail. I assumed that my partner knew better than I did, so I deferred my trust onto him, instead of further checking things out for myself. (No blame-I chose!)
2) No One Knows Your Path: People along the way will tell you what you want to hear, or about their own path; we did not inquire fully when we met the loggers, we spoke in vague terms and their answers were what we wanted to hear. Instead of showing them our map and asking them if they could tell us where we were, we kept going.
3) Beware of Signs & Wonders: If you’re on the wrong path, even the signs are wrong. Because we thought we were on the right path, we assumed the signs along the way were pointing us in the right direction. They weren’t. They were for that trail, not the one we had on our map-the one we thought we were on. Again we interpreted the signs to mean what we wanted them to mean.
4) It’s Never Too Late To Start Again: As soon as we suspected something wasn’t right, we could have turned around. At any point in life, one can turn around and start over! And, if you are willing to persevere, eventually you will find your way.
Like life, we had the choice to a) start over, using the information to not repeat the same trail, b) get proper guidance from someone who actually walked the trail or c) stay where we were. All of the choices are valid. I could go further; even the wrong path can be enjoyable and beautiful; Is there really a wrong path? Feel free to submit yours! In this case, we were hot and tired and feeling quite defeated (and embarrassed!), so we ate our picnic lunch and had a nap.
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