May your path weave

I had the ’flu for more than a week leading up to Christmas, which left me flat out for days.
I’m not looking for sympathy, though some chicken soup would have been nice. But I suppose you were busy with your Christmas preparations, such as last-minute shopping, trimming the tree, baking cookies, mailing parcels, sipping the cider, mulling the wine, and shelling the nuts.
When I finally got out of bed, I took “Gracie” for a walk down through the woods. The fresh air was spectacular and quite a relief, and the scenery so much more interesting than the four walls of my bedroom.
We’ve had a light cover of snow that leaves my walking path more lovely, more visible—the dark of the path flanked on either side by the fresh white snow.
I stopped and looked at the path for several minutes while Gracie pursued and sent some imaginary creature up a tree. The path looked so friendly and inviting as it wound its way down the hill through the forest, weaving left, then right, then left again and it got me thinking.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. We learned that early on in school, right after we learned the alphabet and our times tables and right before we learned to solve if train ‘A’ is traveling at said speed and train ‘B’ is travelling at a slower speed but with less distance to cover, who gets there first (you get the drift).
I love a winding trail, and I imagined a winding driveway over a little bridge to my dream house set in amongst big trees of many varieties and a single summer sitting chair in the shade next to the brook; the winding drive being the most important feature of my childhood imagined grown-up future home.
The driveway of my current home is very straight.
Life doesn’t follow a straight line, at least not very often. Thankfully, we weave to the right and we weave to the left as we wander on our path away from and back to the straight line; wandering that sees us choosing wisely at times and not so wisely at others, and sometimes we get knocked about.
A straight line would lead us much more quickly from birth to death. The weaving back and forth is the stuff of life; the moments where we find the courage to strike out, to make our own path.
If we take a walk in a field of fresh snow, striking out from our starting place and after we have covered a reasonable distance, we stop and look back, we will discover that though we thought we were walking in a straight line, the truth is we just naturally meander.
I think that is meant to tell us that if we walked perfectly straight, we might just miss out on a whole lot of living.
With a new year upon us, some of us look ahead and make promises and plans while others look behind—examining the weaving and meandering trail we have just passed along on.
In hindsight, we may have avoided a few missteps, but maybe those very missteps taught us our most valuable lessons.
I wish for you a gently weaving path with pauses for laughter and celebration.
And I hope your path is surrounded by courage and hope while you make your way—stepping off the path to extend a hand to a neighbour or a stranger, and being glad you did.
wendistewart@live.ca

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