Trails and Goals

Seven trails follow the two rivers that cross through our little town. Last Autumn, I touched on a few of them, but know that I’ve only just scratched the surface.

This one runs behind our community, just beyond my capacity to wander…now. I have goals for myself. One of them being to strengthen my legs and build up to greater distances.

Others are a short drive away. That’s my second goal – to drive again, enough to reach the trail heads. Sundays will be the best day, as our main street shops close down and the traffic is light.

Having a chronic illness, especially one that knocks the stuffing out of you like Myalgic Encephaloymyelitis, is like having the reset button pushed, and starting all over again.

I’m up for the challenge.

(For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: walks, trails, and sidewalks

Lens-Artists Challenge: Path

Who can resist a path’s allure?  Not I.

Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen, Texas offers manicured paths, through lush green gardens, carefully groomed – a bird watcher’s delight. (Featured image).

path

At Piper’s Lagoon, my weary legs climbed to the water’s view, and would go no further.  This path, beyond, called to me, but would have to wait for another day.

Jack Pine Trail 3

The Jack Pine Trail, on Moodie Dr, Nepean, Ontario shimmers in the light of day, the woods alive with wildlife seeking human contact.

Trail by quarryMultiple trails, easily accessible and well manicured, await our exploration in our new hometown.

Who can resist a path’s allure?  Not I.

The Seeker

…and when I’m gone –
fleshy vessel turned to ash,
know that my spirit,
in joyous release,
will be seeking new paths.

(Poem inspired by the path at Piper’s Lagoon.  Submitted for Lens-Artists Challenge – Path.)

 

Healing Steps

Fear is insidious; it creeps into the psyche and buries itself deep without any conscious effort.  It manifests in anxiety, stalls progress, and threatens to define its host.

Today, I did something I haven’t done in well over four years; I went for a walk in the woods, unattended.  I took my camera and my cellphone, donned a jacket in case of rain, and headed for the trails here at Living Forest Oceanside Campground in Nanaimo, B.C.

skullrock.jpgOf course, I was not alone.  Fear taunted me at every bend in the trail.

“What if someone comes along,” it hissed.  “You are defenceless.”

“There are people nearby,” I countered and kept walking.

“Listen to how quiet it is here; doesn’t that alarm you?  What if there is a bear or cougar nearby.”

Gulp. I kept walking.

“You could fall.  These paths are treacherous, and then what?  Who would save you?  Ric can’t walk in here.”

I took a deep breath and slowed my pace, carefully choosing my steps.  “I have my cellphone.  Ric can call for help from the office.”

Fighting fear can be a step-by-step process.  I thought about my childhood and how the woods were, for so much of it, my home.  Was I not afraid then?  I certainly spent hours alone, exploring.

“The child hasn’t had the life experience necessary to develop these kinds of fears,” I thought.

LivingForestflightThe trails are well marked here.  At every junction there is a map and while I am not normally good at following directions, I made myself study it and concentrate on where I was in relation to where I wanted to go.  At the far end of the trail was a place called Eagle Point.  I wondered if I could make it there.

I would try.

The next map warned of steep slopes and dangerous terrain.  I decided to be cautious and headed instead for a break in the trees, so that I could see the water.  It was so quiet that my footfalls sent the ducks swimming below scattering.

I decided to head back, not wanting to push my luck.  I had come out without a walker, and there was no obvious place to sit and rest here.  Following the map, I took a different route back – perhaps not the best idea as I encountered a steep hill.

3trilliums.jpg“Slow and steady,” I told myself.  My heart pounded and I felt breathless, but I made it, and while I waited for things to calm down at the top, I took in my surroundings.  This forest, like so many on the island, is a contrast of the dead and fallen limbs and trunks, and varying shades of green.  White trilliums dot the velvety forest floor.  Apart from a black squirrel and the odd bird that flit by in a blur, there was little other movement.

Being independent, even for a short time, felt wonderful.  How long had it been since I had the confidence to go out on my own?  Too long.

blacksquirrel.jpgThe end of the trail was now in sight, and not quite ready to go back to the RV, I lingered a bit longer, noticing the buds on trees and bushes, trying to imagine what this place will look like in a couple of weeks.

My ankle snapped just as I hit the main road.  By the time I reached our site, my right leg muscle spasmed too.  I would head in and hit the bed, pleased with myself.

I thought of other possibilities, wondering when I’d be able to drive the car again.  Maybe even going to the grocery store alone.

Fear slapped me in the face.

Sigh.  One step at a time.