January 7, 2013


Recently Diane woke me at 2:00 AM, “Come look out the window.”  What was she doing looking out the window at 2:00 AM?  She hadn’t gone to bed yet.  The writing bug has bitten her, and she has quite an infection.  It keeps her up nights.  So she was star and snow gazing and it seems she wasn’t the only one awake.  There were four deer having a tea party in our neighbor’s yard, without the tea.  But it looked like they were engrossed in a conversation, all four were sitting on the ground, and it looked like they were talking.  We delighted in the serendipity and then I went back to bed.

The morning snow was pocked with enough tracks to make us believe there had been dozens of deer in the yard.  The four we saw may have had company, or they may have wandered around a good bit.  I’m not staying up to see which theory holds water.  I enjoyed the late-night deer-watching, and smile when trying to imagine what they must have been up to all night.   But I would just as soon leave my own tracks in the snow.

Have you ever noticed, more often than not, unless we are seven-years-old, we tend not to leave tracks in the snow.  Most of us move toward the shoveled paths. We seldom break new ground, unless there is fresh snow overnight and the only way to our car or the mailbox is to cut a path through the snow.

Here are a few of the more common reasons we rarely stray from the path:

  • The shoveled paths are safer; it is less likely that we will slip and fall; less likely that we will be made uncomfortable.
  • The shoveled paths are cleaner and dryer; we are less likely to get ourselves muddied and mussed-up.  We can keep our socks dry.
  • The shoveled paths lead us where we want to go; we are less likely to get lost.
  • The shoveled paths allow someone else to do the hard work.

Any of the above could be a good reason to stay on the shoveled paths. There are reasons to stay safe and dry, clean and sure.  There are times when following the clear (cleared) path is the wise choice.

But what if all the shoveled paths are really there for someone else?  What if the clear paths lead to nowhere, or at least to nowhere you want to go?

When you get a fresh idea, perhaps the best course of action leads across fresh snow.

  • There may be more risk, more discomfort, but the rewards can be greater.
  • We might get dirty, wet and cold, but we will have fun.
  • We might get lost, but we are plotting our own adventure, and that could be well worth the risk.
  • Sometimes the best part of an adventure comes from the work of the adventure.

Your best art comes from the brush you are holding, your best novel from the keyboard you are typing on.  Leave the work of others to others.

Breaking new ground is where the adventure is, it is where the action is, it is where, more often than not, life is.  So strap on your hiking boots and get out there.


What is the biggest hindrance keeping you from making your own tracks in the snow?

How do you overcome the fear of wet feet and dirty clothes?

Where would you go (what would you do) if every path was a clear path?


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