The road not traveled, the path not walked.
I am quietly lamenting those, on this first day of spring.
When we first moved into this little blue cottage on Thendara Lane, the lane then lined with pine trees, I was delighted to learn there was a map of all the trails I could explore—"Seventy-five miles of pathways meander through the hills and valleys around Los Altos Hills, perfect for hiking, jogging, or horseback riding." I went to pick one of the maps up at city hall (in the country), but couldn't get one because they'd run out.
Like everything, I lost sight of that map for months and years, remembering from time to time that I meant to go back and get one. In the meantime I found a trail or two, and followed them, most interrupted by a street or house I couldn't get around. I spotted horses on the roadside trails, and up the hill beyond Tesla. I was enchanted by sightings, but didn't walk deliberately to visit, as I used to at lunchtime up the fat hill, Cerro Gordo, behind my school in Santa Fe. Horses might happen, trails might come along, but I didn't go find them. I loved walking through pine shade down our lane, to pick up mail or just enjoy the sunlight sifting through the evergreen needles. But I didn't do that often. And now the pines are gone, slaughtered this year.
Finally a year or two I got the trail map, which I opened once or twice and lost again.
I've been telling myself I want to walk—something I've loved; I want to go see the horses. I do choose to drive past one of the stables on my way home, when I remember, and I always want to spend more time in good equine company. I love to see them grazing on the rolling hills, especially when the hills are green, as now. I long to get closer. To get back to the person I was at lunchtime in Santa Fe. The adult I might have imagined myself being then.
But will I? Will I let another spring of opportunities go by, this one perhaps the last, without going on pilgrimage even that far? I'm never sure what's stopping me—some kind of strange procrastination that allows me then to complain about lack of time, about things lost irremediably. But time is NOW, and fleeting as we know, so I must simply put my comfortable shoes on, go get another map, and walk and walk and walk. Grateful for all those miles of paths yet for the taking.
image: Christie B. Cochrell, Paths, Cheddar Gorge