the road from here to there is oft not straight. the way the crow flies is irrelevant. “the only way there is through,” joan told me quite some time ago. we were talking about grief. i had lost my sweet momma and it felt brutal; at any age the loss of a parent is profound. i was talking to joan about it – about getting to the other side of the grief. and she told me that the only way there was through it. a winding trail it was, with switchbacks and no guardrails.
that has happened for me with each encounter with grief. there is nothing easy about it, nothing straight. the grief of loss, the grief of instability, the grief of anxiety, the grief of fear, the grief of insecurity, the grief of aging, the grief of failure, the grief of change, in all its rampant forms.
and yet, out hiking, winding trails are my preference. a hike that takes me past hidden-treasure-vistas, a hike where i cannot see the end from the beginning, a hike that surprises at each turn. these winding trails are gifts in the woods, in the mountains, in between red rock formations high in elevation. there is much to see, much to learn about. they are journeys of not-knowing. they are journeys of wonder, of revelation.
we are not crows; no flightpath in our lives will be straight, no endpoint clear in our sight, no one thing all the way from here to there, no vector traveled without veering a bit off-course. even reverse-threading our lives will not reveal a straight path; instead it will reveal a vast horizon of ping-ponging and circuitous route-making. we will most definitely wind around, through decisions and opportunities, missed marks and challenges at the goal line, defining and re-defining. living.
which winds me back to joan’s wise words of years ago, which i can still hear her saying. the only way from here to there is through. winding trail and all.