The Bend in the Road

I went for a solo walk/run yesterday. Mainly a walk with occasional, brief bouts of running consisting of short strides and poorly-taken breaths. I would say I’m the world’s worst runner, but I trust I have an advantage over asthmatics and arthritics.

This walk/barely-run took place on a path with little traffic other than the insects, and no distractions but the scenery. There were a half-dozen passersby, but, for the most part, I was alone.

At the far end of my trip, I stopped for a minute to breathe and look around. It was quiet and unhurried. Or, as we might call it in our current society, unusual. It was nice. Until a bug couldn’t get enough of my sweaty pheromones and wouldn’t leave me alone.

On the way back, I stopped to pick a few tiny flowers. I wouldn’t have, I swear, if it weren’t so late in the season. I normally leave the flowers for others to enjoy, but I assumed they were not long for this world.

As I was making my way along the trail, I realized I was in the midst of a kind of life metaphor. On the way, I had to decide how far I wanted to go (in this case, knowing I had to come back), and every time I thought, “Okay, that’s it, I should start back,” I ended up going a little bit further, because the path curved and I had never been that far on it, so I wanted to know what was up ahead.

That’s when it occurred to me that, if you take the winding road, when you get tired, curiosity can help you around the next bend. And sometimes it’s important to go far enough that it’s a long way back.

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