Photo: Jeremy Liebman/Shutterstock

You Won't See the Path Until You're on It

by Carlo Alcos Mar 9, 2012
The path becomes clearer for those with the courage to start down it.

I WENT OUT for a long walk this morning. Nelson is built on the side of a mountain and, as such, there are a lot of hills, some very steep. It also means that streets shoot off at strange angles and, even after a year and a half living here, I still get lost wandering around the maze-like neighbourhoods. One road I ventured up ended in a residential driveway. My goal was to get up to a street that I knew would bring me back home, but I couldn’t see a way to it.

If I went back the way I came it would mean backtracking about a kilometer over ups and downs I’d already traversed. It wasn’t an appealing option. Then I noticed something heading upwards between two houses. It was a trail to the road above that I wanted to get on.

It was sunny but it’s still winter here and there is still some snow cover. With the melting and freezing the fluctuating temperatures are causing, the trail was a skinny ice rink. Sunshine glistened off its surface, telling me that if I stepped foot on it I would be on my ass (or face) tout de suite. I almost gave up on it and turned around, resigned to return from where I came.

But I took a closer look at the trail; there was a narrow stretch of crunchy snowpack on either side of the ice that offered some traction. I took a couple of steps on it, and my confidence built. Up ahead it looked like the snow ran out and I was unsure if I would be able to make it to the top, but I plugged away. I took it step by step, sometimes using the branches of a leafless bush for support. I eventually emerged onto the road.

As I walked home I thought about what just happened. Looking up the path at the unwelcoming ice I felt fear — I didn’t want to fail attempting it or, worse, injure myself. But the safer way showed itself to me with each step I took.

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