Before the morning sun crested the horizon, my aging bones and muscles soaked in the 104-degree water bubbling in the backyard hot tub while my eyes gazed at the jewel box above.
I traced a path through a star cluster to luminous Saturn that dominated the sparkling navy blue sky. A northbound jet cut straight across my curved trail through the heavens. “How appropriate,” I mumbled to myself, “here I am meandering through an imaginary channel toward a bright star, and some pilot in a Boeing built beast zooms right through my wanderings—and the pilot will get there before me.”
I felt the same as I did nearly 60 years ago when I was a three-year-old scraping paths in the dry desert dirt with a stick. Stooped in a squat close to the ground I wrapped the stick past wild fiddleheads, bypassed thorny weeds, and circled a red ant hill, and then found the path’s end under a low-lying limb of a fragrant cedar. My creation charmed me, and my goal met, until—until Roscoe, our rambunctious mutt, trampled right through my tiny trail.
Clearly, nothing much has changed. Paths still intrigue me. Others cut through them as if my paths don’t exist.
It’s almost the perfect metaphor. Some of us search and follow winding paths while others can’t fathom the process and draw a direct line from point A to point B instead.
Neither route is superior. One is more exploratory and willing to bend, while the geometric approach is efficient and to the point.
The path, however, is always the beginning. Deer paths became Indian trails, followed by wagon trails, to roads, to freeways. The California mission trail is a perfect example. Missionaries followed Indian trails and built missions along the trail that became a road that connected “civilization” and commerce, that grew to become Highway 101 and eventually become the concrete line that connects every major California city.
This path began as a spiritual quest that veered into something far beyond the Franciscans’ dreams. Path crashers blurred the wavy lines and achieved their mission.
I’m not surprised that I still build winding paths through every garden I’ve planted. It’s exactly how I ramble through life. Mystery, surprises, adventure and exploration define my continuing lifestyle. Straight line? No way. Oh, I’d probably be better off taking the direct route, but I bore too easily.
Moseying through my spiritual path, my career path, and my creative path looks unfocused to some. But it’s not. I don’t separate one from the other. So to my way of thinking these are one conduit to one goal.
Like those Franciscan missionaries I build paths through a logical course that connects important life elements.
When I gazed at the morning stars today, knowing that from where I sat my speck was truly less than tiny, yet an integral speck of this planet, it reconfirmed the importance of seeking bits of light to the paths none of us can escape.