Trail Blazers

trail marker

Trail marker on a tree

Changing to a new life path can be exciting and a little scary sometimes too. After all, the unexpected can be exhilarating, devastating, or a little of both. It takes a bit of awareness to find the boundaries of our path. I thought about this a lot after a day-trip in the mountains. There were markers everywhere to help people find the trail. After all, at the altitude we’re hiking, there are huge quantities of crystallized water – snow – every winter. Without trail markers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, or snowplows can’t find the path/road. In the summer, hikers can easily get turned around and end up walking a game trail rather than the intended trail. If the trail isn’t often used, it can be overgrown and hard to find. Getting lost in these areas can be fatal.

Maybe the main path is easy to see, but some of the side tracks are harder to distinguish. Even harder to find sometimes are the boundary lines. Where is the path and where it the underbrush? You know how dreadful the underbrush can be; it scrapes you up, may give you ticks, and leads you into dangerous territory that’s not the exciting kind. People leave for a day-trip all the time around here and get swallowed up by the wild and don’t come back — they fall over cliffs, they get hypothermia, they fall into flash floods, etc. So the trail can be an exciting place taking us into new territory, but we need to stick to the trail where it’s safe. We know it’s the right place for us.

RMNP, Rocky Mountain National Park

Poles mark the road boundaries at Rocky Mountain National Park for the snow plows in winter.

So what about my life path? Are there areas that I need to know aren’t my path? There have been times that I’ve walked a trail that was a dead-end. It petered out somewhere and never seemed to go anywhere but back the way I came. I’ve been down paths that were fraught with hazards that quickly showed me that it wasn’t MY path, but someone else’s. I need the boundaries on my path to keep me in the safe territory and out of the underbrush. They can be hard to see, sometimes, and yet they can be plain as day. I’ve had people ask me over and over, “I’d love to take any classes from you; let me know when you plan to teach something.” That’s a big bright trail-blaze telling me that teaching classes, even informally, is on my right path.

road boundary

Trees and a short rock wall guard cars from going off the cliff at RMNP.

When I’m ready, I’ll step over the conventional boundaries, though. They aren’t there just to keep us safe, but also to limit us to the trail chosen by the park service. I wouldn’t do this in the wild, but on my life path, can choose to step over the border and into the wild. I know there has been no trailblazer before me. I can break a new trail for others to follow. What’s the difference between this and the underbrush? My delusions lead me into the underbrush. It’s my heart and intuition that lead me to blaze new trails. One is not my path, and the other is simply a brand-new way.

Related post: Surrender to the Path

road markers

Road into the clouds

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