How did I miss the turn?
I have run this route countless times. How did I miss the turn? I rarely get lost or let myself get lost–this is both a curse and a blessing. I nearly always know where I am in map terms. (Other regards, not so much.) When traveling, once oriented to the map, I can see the path in my minds eye from one location to the next, occasionally stopping to make sure that I am still on the right track. It’s really hard for me to just let go and wander–to quiet my mind and see what happens. The worry of getting lost, losing my way churns and churns and churns.
So how did I miss the turn, on a track that I know? Was it the distraction of seeing another person? The first time in the five years of walking, running or hiking this route, I saw someone hiking. He was from Mass Wildlife and Fisheries working on a project on West Mountain Road. He arrived from Boston a little early and decided to explore.
The turn off is at the second clearing. When I arrived at it, I thought it was the first one, so I continued even though the road started to go down and then up in a way that did not seem familiar. About a half-mile past the turn-off I reached a clear cut section and realized that I missed the turn. I contemplated the view into the valley and calculated the approximate distance back to the turn-off versus continuing to the AT and making a big loop. My body wanted to continue, the warm air, fall sunshine and my need for Vitamin D beckoned me to keep going. My work and my obligations told me to chance it that the turn-off was closer than I thought and to retrace my steps.
And my mind was amazed that I missed the turn-off and wondered if it was possible to get lost and enjoy it. I can get totally lost in my studio work, finding my way back to the path when needed, but in other areas of my life, not so much. Missing this turn-off plays in my mind, encouraging me to look for times and places where I can get lost, knowing that the path is still there, but exploring the freeness of being with the flow of wherever I am going.