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Paths are Possibilities

I totally get why Hansel and Gretel headed into the woods.

Paths Pauline Baird Jones

For some reason, paths—and pictures of paths—always catch my attention. I totally get why Hansel and Gretel headed into the woods. When I was a little girl and my parents took us up into the mountains for the day (or night—not as fun, IMHO), we’d spill out of the truck and head for the first path we saw. 

Paths went up. They went down. They led to outhouses (O.O not fun but necessary), streams and waterfalls, meadows filled with flowers, into the woods, out of the woods—to adventure and exploration. 

Paths were possibilities. 

Oh, we’d go off the paths on occasion, but off-path explorations often led to dead ends, poison ivy and a higher risk of ticks. Pushing through prickly bushes was not as fun as pelting along a rough path, playing hide’n seek or explorer. 

Looking back, I can see that there were risks, even on the marked (some well, some not so well) paths. But because enough people had gone before, there was a path to something or somewhere, a “safe” adventure. Over time, we came to know the paths of “our” mountains pretty well. But these were the “wilds,” so the unexpected happened. Critter sightings and seasonal change provided enough new for inquiring minds. And there was always the risk of a coming face-to-face with a bear.

Now that I’m older, I look to paths for something different. For one thing, anything too steep can be embarrassing after living so many years at sea level. O.O Puffing and panting is not conducive to tranquility. But what I want from a path has changed. Oh, I haven’t completely given up on adventure, but I look at the path pictured above and I see the potential for peace, tranquility and reflection. A place to reset and renew. 

My imagination still likes to provide the “adventure,” which is kind of ironic, possibly funny. Because I can look at that path and “see,” just beyond the curve, a plethora of bears and serial killers. As a child, my imagination made my path explorations more exciting. As an adult, I have to remind my imagination that it needs to wait for the writing to strut its stuff. 

Clearly, reality has always been a challenge for me. LOL

So what about you? What do you see/hope for at the start of an unfamiliar path? 

Perilously yours,


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