The Winding Paths


There’s something to be said for taking the crooked paths. They offer the traveller no choice but to surrender control and foresight. In return, they offer discovery, spontaneity, and—often—charm. These are the journeys worth celebrating.

a picture

Meandering without direction, these funny paths form aimless sketches across the folds of the landscape. There is no rhyme or reason for why a path goes where it goes. It simply goes. The scraggly line is far from straightforward. It takes time—it celebrates the endless passing of time—as it leisurely makes its way from one point to the next.

In fact, there may be no points at all. Points imply a start and an end. This is just a journey across space and time. Slowly, we trace north, then east, then west, then south. Over time we find ourselves traveling in circles. We find connections to the places we were before, but we see them from a new perspective. This is our chance to celebrate the return home. Over time we repeat the footsteps of yesterdays, yet someday we abruptly shift direction and make slow progress onward.

far from straightforward

We may follow a path and never arrive at the lands left unexplored. The empty space breathes intrigue. It invites us to come closer. But there is simply no way there. That space will never be more than a beautiful emptiness. Against the dense networks our feet have forged here, the nothingness is infinitely precious. It is an open space to savor.

a tangled web

Over time, the lines become a tangled web. Where was the beginning? The human eye can select a single path at random, choose a direction at random, and follow where it leads. But where do we go when the paths fork? And that is but the first obstacle, for there will doubtless be many more forks ahead. Did I, the mind wonders, start by going in the wrong direction? With so many uncontrollable circumstances, it’s best to leave reason behind and indulge in instinct. Plans are useless in the face of mystery. Revel in the unexpectedly narrow passages and refreshingly wide roads. We do not know when we will see a path of such curiosity again, so we learn to savor each moment to the utmost.

If we could somehow gain a bird’s eye perspective of all the paths we walked over the years, what would we see? Would we be satisfied by the pictures woven by our journeys?

a tangled web, continued
the wandering line

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