I think I’m on a trail.

My writing process as described through an actual hike I went on today.  

I am on a trail.

I think I’m on a trail.

I’m pretty sure this is a trail.

This is my inner dialogue every single time I go hiking.

GOD DAMNIT! How am I NOT on a trail anymore?

I knew it was a stretch that I would be able to do this alone. I’m horrible at directions. I can’t read maps. I let whimsies and gut feelings lead me.

My gut lied in Ponderosa State Park. Not even my mantra of I think I’m on a trail could will an actual trail to appear. I followed an animal trail and when I realized it I was so far off track that I couldn’t even trace my steps back to my original path.

HOW DID I EVER THINK THIS WAS A TRAIL?

I’m derailed. I followed my instincts and lost my way. I don’t even know which direction I was heading.

But I find my way back. Slowly, methodically, I am on a trail.

I keep my head down. I watch the ground carefully, making sure each step is calculated and productive. Eyes on the prize. One foot in front of the next. Until, a snap right beside me.

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There is a deer, feet away from me. A deer! I never even knew it because my head was down and I was so focused on where I was going. What if I would have missed this deer because I was so obsessed with the trail? What if this deer is more important than any other thing I will see today?

I keep walking, but with my eyes alternating between the trail and the surroundings.

I’m still not sure I’m going in the right direction but there is beauty all around me and I begin to become content with that. Maybe the trail never knew what was best for me. Maybe the trail needs someone to venture off it before it can improve and be fully utilized.

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But then I see it. These steps that arch up higher than my sweat-stinging eyes can see. I remember. That people walk this trail every single day. They have walked this trail for years. They run it, they navigate multiple trails, and they do it with ease.

I doubt every ability I thought I had.

I can’t hike. I can’t follow a trail. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

Until I arrive. At my intended destination even. I’m not sure how I got here, but I am incredibly proud of myself for getting here.  I send a text to my husband to celebrate.

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And in true husband fashion, he was a smart ass.

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Sigh. Someday I am going to use a compass and blow his mind.

I don’t tell him that I didn’t really use the map. I looked at it frequently and nodded, knowingly. I squinted at squiggly lines, pursed my lips, then followed my gut hoping it wouldn’t lead me astray again.

I stand in silence, rejoicing and reveling in where I am.

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Then I remember…

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I am on a trail.

I think I’m on a trail.

I’m pretty sure this is a trail.

I hope so.

In the end, I will have a grand adventure. And hopefully a book.

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