Will I stick to the well worn path, pressed into creation by the passage of thousands of feet before me? If I listen to my mother and all the wisdom of those who have lived long, I will. If I play safe I will find I reach my destination without incident, without any of the chaos of the unknown and the unexpected. But it’s not in my nature, and even as I try to stay on the path, a murder of crows takes flight around me, shaking the woods with their harsh calls, and I stumble into untrodden leaves.
Curiosity tugs me on through the unmarked woods, following only the transient caws of the crows. This trail of sound leads me over a hill and into a virgin bank of snowdrops, unseen by human eye until this moment. Beauty waiting patiently for anyone who dares to seek the unexplored, and I tumble to the ground breathless with awe.
Gazing around me I realise I’m lost among the trees, the path of sound has vanished into the air, and I’m alone. Into this lost space the characters of the trees step forward, introducing themselves to me one by one.
Many have dark holes chiselled through their bark, leading into the unknown spaces within.
If I could only shrink, like Alice in Wonderland, I would leap in a heartbeat into these unknown and mysterious holes. I imagined as a child that I could live inside a hollow tree, warm and safe from the wild storms in the woods, and I feel that old yearning tugging at my heart. Each entrance holds the promise of something different, something new and unexpected.
But I know I must find my feet again, and walk back out into the safe and structured world known by all. I follow the trees and they lead me back to the path, which no one ever needs to know I left. I brush the leaves of adventure off my shoulders and smile.
Sometimes it’s really good to get lost because we find things we didn’t even know were possible. Getting lost opens up new opportunities and angles which we might never have imagined, but it requires a degree of trust that we will find the path again. Getting lost can be a great catalyst for change, and the unknown territory will usually keep us wide open to the details around us. This is a great help to being mindful, as when we are somewhere unfamiliar we will not slip so easily into assumptions, and we can use our curiosity as an anchor in the moment. Ironically I find getting lost is very grounding, as it brings me sharply into my senses and the world around me. It opens my eyes and my mind in fresh new ways.
You can also see more photo journeys looking at the fine details all around us at Chittle Chattles lovely 100 Steps challenge.