When I am on a path in the woods, I am always aware of the bare tree roots sticking up from the ground. Oftentimes, they seem to be placed almost as stairs on a path that slants upward or downward. Other times, they direct rain water to run off in a channel on either side of the path so that the path itself stays dry or at least passable. Still other times, they point in the direction one should travel. It is so very, very easy to get lost in the woods, and the trees know this.
|The path is alive.|
The paths in the woods are living paths. They are alive. Most people see the beautiful green trees around them as they walk. They see the ferns and the bushes and the moss. They hear the birds and the insects, and now and then they see a deer or rabbit or fox run by. They see the life all around them, but they never stop to think that the path itself is also alive. Each time they place their foot in the next step of their journey, they are stepping on to the living path, and the path knows it.
The living path is part of the journey. It’s a constant companion that stays with you even when you are all alone. It supports you as you walk. It guides you gently in this direction or that. It reveals the hidden beauty along the way, and in the end it brings you safely to your destination. It is no wonder that people always feel better after a walk on a path in the woods.
But compare that to a city path, one made of concrete and asphalt and hardness. Compare that to a city path that is not alive. It does not move. It does not breathe. It does not point in the proper direction (different for each traveler). Perhaps there is a tree or flower carefully placed here and there, but the constant companion is gone. Where did he go? He went to a living path, one that is not only part of the journey, but by journey’s end is part of the traveler as well.
Take the living path whenever you can. Take the path that calls to you and welcomes you when you arrive. Take the path that cares for you all along the walk and delivers you to your destination somehow more than you were when you started.