So I’ve been doing a lot of hiking, which has been altogether lovely… if you put aside my obviously reddish gleam.
But this past weekend we went to Bong’s Recreational Area, which I’ve visited before, but never hiked. It was a really great walk… 4 hours, 9.5 miles.
It was really muddy in certain areas and it got me thinking about how much work it takes to build a path.
First you have to determine the new path you’d like to chart. Where is it going to start? Will it meet up with other paths? Is there a particular piece of scenery you’d like it go pass through?
Once you determine the path, you have a lot of work to do with clearing underbrush: tall grasses, sticks, rocks, and a whole host of other things. Not to mention, getting to the path with any equipment you might need.
Most paths are not straight, there are a lot of reasons for this. You may come upon a tree in your path. You have a choice. Take the tree down, or go around it. The same can be said for a boulder, or a brook, or even animal nests.
Once you do all of this work, you have to maintain your path. Mow it, traverse it, keep it clear from brush, all sorts of things.
So I understand why there were not always paths that went around the muddy places. It’s hard to make a path, especially when there already is a well-worn path, that already gets you where you think you need to go, perhaps only at the detriment of getting you wet and muddy.
Habit, choice, and direction are much the same. It’s hard to know there’s even a problem with the existing path. And once you do, it takes work to forge a new path.
The good news is that, as FMA often says, when you stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing does itself.
So if this is new to you, just see if this week you're able to recognize habits that you have. If you're feeling up to the task, ask yourself to stop before trudging down the well-worn path and give yourself some space to reason out a healthier, alternate route.
Change can be big or small, but it starts with awareness + choice.