Monday, June 20, 2011

Pathways and the roads not taken

 A friend of mine emailed me the other day with a big chuckle about my "mowing my pasture." He imagined me on a big combine of sorts, cutting it all back. So I thought I would explain my pathways.

You can see them fairly clearly here - they are fairly far apart though they crisscross and intersect. The dogs, (not only mine but those that run loose, friends' dogs, coyotes, foxes, deer, my cats, in short many creatures) wander, run or gallop along them with abandon.

This photograph is taken from close to the north end of my two acres, with the drive shed covered in vines in the background close to the south boundary.

Bliss has chosen one pathway, Spirit is at the intersection. Which path he will take often depends on which way I go, though not always.

These pathways make it easier for me to walk the dogs around the property which I do these days because the hay and bean fields where we walk usually are full of crops which I don't want to damage and also are often sprayed with defoliants to enhance the crop. I don't like to expose the dogs to that nor myself for that matter... so we walk on the pathways where the dogs can chase birds which they never catch, frogs which they might but don't seem to, snakes, which startle them, mice and moles which they pursue with diligence but aren't often successful and - of course, each other. They sometimes run at top speed along side a cyclist on the road (on the right hand side of the photo but out of sight here), or to see who has stopped on the road that is the boundary on the south side of the property.

Pathways are also symbolic for me - of the many choices people have in their lives, of the ones I've made to take one path over another. Walking these paths offers me the opportunity for a sort of moving meditation. I can be in the moment and observe all the new growth, new wildflowers, growth of the many kinds of grasses, bird life, mull over a problem, or review my day ahead's activities and make mental changes or plans. Its up to me. The paths I choose and how I choose to walk them and in what state, observant and present, meditative and dreamy, or thoughtful, even worried - they are all an important part of my daily life.

However, I find myself more and more often walking and stopping to look at the clouds, the view across the valley, enjoy the view, marvel at the many birds that have made this area  home or are in flight to somewhere else, the cows and horses in the field across the road. But I enjoy just being present. I am always rewarded with something. But sometimes I do wonder about the paths I didn't take and how different my life would have been. Do you?

May your path today be full of interest and adventure, peace and comfort, joy, relief, whatever is positive in your life, whichever one you are on or choose to move to.


  1. A very thoughtful post. First I laughed picturing you on a combine! But paths and trails are important landscape features whether man made, animal made, or created by natural features like glaciers and streams.

    I often pick a trail that I normally would not walk just to see what happens, both in life and in the woods. But most of all I prefer to stay off of previously traveled pathways altogether.

  2. As I read your post a smile grew from deep within me...I can relate so much to your words! I often get lost in meditation as I walk, especially in nature. Where I live now it's more urban residential but when I visit my folks in Vermont I feel at once connected to the beauty of the land that you eloquently describe. We have much in common. By the way, I LOVE the names Bliss and Spirit. My Journey has taken me through many paths...some light and airy, some treacherous, but in the end it's about our choices along the way. Peace, my friend!