Sometimes, taking a leap of faith leads to slipping and falling on your butt. Other times, you finesse your way into the most excellent adventure! Last week, I hiked with a new friend on a path that was familiar to her, but brand new to me. We got off to the wrong foot, missing the trailhead and having to backtrack for a mile until we found the white blaze. This particular trail was uneventful in midwinter, until we climbed to the top of a rise and peered down at a sapphire blue lake. Any other time of year, the view would have been hidden by leafy greens, but on this day, the sight was glorious.
Rather than making the drive home and back, I’d brought a skirt and dancing shoes so I could make a beeline to a contra dance later in the evening. Well, as much of a beeline as you get living in a mountainous region! I traveled my familiar route to dance at the Folk School. Some women friends I’d met a few times suggested we get together for lunch the next day and dance again in another town. So I stayed overnight, thankful for the gym bag I keep in the car, complete with spare clothes, deodorant and a toothbrush.
The next day, my old Honda led the way to pick up a few more gals. As I rounded the turn near Hogpen Gap, this shimmering ice sculpture dropped my jaw in amazement. I pulled over and made a “camera” motion and my new friends nodded enthusiastically. The ice climbers wore helmets and spikes, and were happy to be part of a photo opp. But the contrasting natural beauty of cold granite, frozen water, and rippling crystals stole the show! We all felt blessed to have made the choice to travel together that morning, turn a corner, and be met by indescribable beauty as a part of our impromptu journey. We pulled over several more times to snap photos of gorgeous mountain vistas before we reached our next destination.
A few days ago, a man I had dated for several months and was starting to plan a future together, left me for a chance to reunite with his ex. Wow. I was blindsided and just had not seen that curve coming! After picking up my personal belongings at his place, I headed to the dance by myself, traveling up and down unfamiliar mountain roads guided by my GPS. When I was almost at the Folk School, and could see twinkling lights in the distance, the road suddenly ended. Literally. The yellow-striped line down the middle of the road disappeared and was replaced by the blacktop of a driveway. I backtracked, thinking my eyes were deceiving me in the dark. But that road just ceased to be, although my GPS insisted otherwise.
Turning off the useless device, I used my internal guidance system to intuit my way to the dance. Arriving a few minutes late, I was proud of my own fortitude. Near the end of the evening, a man I’ve admired for a while started a conversation, walked me to my car, and invited me out to dinner. Well, that was yet another unexpected twist to an already full day!
I’ve learned some valuable life lessons this week. To say “yes” to impromptu invitations, and to enjoy travel along unfamiliar paths.That even when the future seems clearly defined and a goal well within reach, the road may end. Just like that. But that there are other roads that lead to the same place. Life can be a slippery slope, and if you fall a few times before regaining your footing, just strap on your spikes and helmet and try again.
Think: When was the last time you said “yes” to an unexpected invitation?
Say: Invite someone you admire but may not know well yet to do something fun.
Do: When you fall, pick yourself up again. Head in the direction you want to go, but be open to finding a different route. Or a new traveling companion. Keep dancing!