I went to one my favorite places to do some hiking and thinking. It had been awhile since I had been on this hiking trail, the Flume Trail and I have never been on it alone so I was very much looking forward to the ability to explore things as I wished and at my own pace.
The vegetation is quite lush and I love the sound of moving water. The water is clear and refreshing. As I cross wooden bridges I look down to see chubs splashing about, ducks who spy me and look at me curiously as if wondering what I am doing. As I am walking the trail along the water, I spy a mother and her ducklings. She knows I see them and she protectively leads them among the masses of vegetation to hide them. There are many bobbing heads totally trusting their mother to lead them to safety. They move so quickly and in unison that I find it difficult to count them. I finally decide there are 10 after counting and recounting, including the mother that makes 11. I decide to continue on my journey so that mother and babies can relax their guard and go about their business.
I love the smell of honeysuckle that greets me as I continue on. I breathe it in and stop to be wrapped in the coolness of the shade along the path. I notice the ferns that are beginning their new birth for spring and that will grow immensely and multiply before the first frost comes. The variety of plants are amazing and a reminder of God’s greatness. I have my phone with me which serves no purpose other than having a camera available to me as there is no service. I stop along the way to take pictures of whatever moves me.
I love walking and exploring, enjoying God’s creations and the sound of my own breath, the solace of my movements and my thoughts. Freedom to go where I feel called to roam. I sit on a tree stump and survey the lake before me. I think about the times I have been kayaking and my soul longs to be out there on the water with my little boat. I make a vow that I will get out this week and enjoy my boat and the lake that I have grown fond of as mine. I decide it is time to continue on. I am wanting to explore and find the tunnels that are along the trail. Some friends and I have had a discussion the last time we hiked about whether we went through one tunnel or two. I swear it was two but no one could confirm or deny so I decide that with no one along with me I am free to discover if we in fact did go through both or one.
I eventually reach the first tunnel and am proud of myself for remembering the way to it and not having to reroute or take other paths. Going through the tunnel, it is dark at first and I start to wonder if there are snakes or some other creatures hiding inside. I tell myself to not let my fears get the better of me and shake it off. I laugh to myself when I reach the end for my fears were unwarranted. I tell myself to stay on the same path believing or somehow knowing that I will reach the second tunnel. I am traveling over stone walls which I snap a picture of.
I look and can almost imagine a face along the wall. Where the moss is growing is the man’s nose and of course above are the eyes and below the mouth. It reminds me of ancient ruins. I keep walking, wondering how many secrets have been told here and kept among the stones, trees and other living things that make their home here. I express my gratitude for this time knowing that I must be coming to the second tunnel and I do and somehow I have great satisfaction. I do have some concern because I am not sure that there is a path that will lead me back after I pass through the tunnel. I did make a mental note of a trail that I think may have been the one I should have taken to bring back to where I started. I am unconcerned at the moment for I tell myself that I can always find it.
On the other side of the tunnel I continue on the trail and continue walking and thinking. I realize how blessed I have been with the friends God has given me, the messengers that he has brought into my life and all the signs that He has given me and I continue to see. I wonder about these signs and their meaning and also at the neon blinking sign that I have asked for to know in which way I should go. I realize that these signs are just that…signs and they really aren’t to give me direction but comfort. To reassure me and let me know that no matter what I choose to do or where I choose to go God will always be by my side guarding and protecting me and that all will be counted as good. I also realize that as much as I have been given great council I must make these decisions on my own. No one has the answer but me. I know it as much as I do not want to own it or believe it. I am receiving the message that no matter what I do I must be true to myself for only in being true to myself can I be happy and find my life purpose and be able to fulfill it. As all of these inner revelations have come to me, I realize I am at the end of the path with nowhere to go. I suspect that I was correct when I feared that I would not be able to get to where I needed to be from here. I back track and realize after going awhile that none of the trail looks familiar. I back track yet again only to find that I am not on the correct path again. I am starting to question myself and wonder how I could possibly have gotten so turned around, it almost feels like I have been going in circles but I know this to be untrue as well as none of the surroundings are familiar and the terrain of the path is not the same. I start to wonder if I will still be trying to find my way wandering around here when night starts to come. I tell myself I have a lot of time before it will become dark. I also tell myself that I was kind of impulsive because I did not bring anything with me but water. If I do end up wandering around until dark a flashlight would be nice. Then the other part of me tells me to quit being silly again. I will find my way.
Even as I tell myself this, I still don’t seem to be able to find the correct trail. An inner thought comes to me that says you must first become lost before you can be found. The thought repeats in my head and just as it does the correct trail appears and I am amazed. I know this message is from God just like when the wind blows through trees. The sound is one of being whispered to. I know they are God breezes and they forever humble me. I contemplate how lost I must become before I am found? I somehow sense that my being lost is coming to a close and that I am now on a journey of being found. I have lost myself and my bearings, I have become nothing and embrace this part.
I continue back the way I came knowing that I have been found. The path is familiar and I know that I am on my way home. I do not know how far I have walked, I do know that I am tired and yet I am quite satisfied and thank God for the conversation. I will not forget the message He has given me. I became lost so that He might find me and show me the way to being true to myself. Funny how being lost can be a good thing. Lose yourself and see what you find on the way.