the trail

There is a trail by my house where the dogs and I go as often as I remember my need for regular jaunts with nature, with my thoughts, with my stride. 

Being a year-round walker means I am allowed glimpses of the life of the trail as it cycles from season to season. The shifts are never abrupt. They are always gradual. But somehow the trail still surprises me one day each season when something connects in my consciousness and I wake to the fullness of the conditions of my environment. 

The trail is at its pinnacle of life right now. In the winter, when it’s sparse, I walk with a sense of the vastness of this parcel of neighborhood wilderness. But now it is crowded with green. And I walk almost hunched by the weight of intimacy in the forest’s felt presence. 

I say “almost” because I don’t hunch. There is still space for me to saunter in my fullness. There is still space for me to walk head high, chest puffed, face gleaming in the green-filtered light.

In this way, holding space for me, the trail is my friend and my teacher. The trail reminds me to move through my days as a pedestrian, which is a matter of pace independent of activity. The trail insists, with gentleness, that I notice the relationships that undergird our shared world. The trail invites me to pay attention, to be vast even when I feel crowded, to be less hurried and more curious. To be patient and full. 

The trail for me is less a venue for transportation and more a companion in my ever and ongoing transformation.