By Paula S. Robin
I love the promise each new day brings. Creativity was my wingman. Intrigue was my ride or die. Mystery was my imaginary friend. There was a new pathway being made before my very eyes, from my backdoor to the back forty, and I was ready to take flight. The new path was adding purpose and enhancing my desire to go on, not just a journey, but an expedition. Rather by chance or choice, I have always been fortunate when it comes to having humor and imagination riding alongside of me. I paused just long enough to take in the feeling of the wide-open spaces rolling out before me. I was totally transfixed on this. Pathways, gateways, private entries, these all spark my curiosity, even today. It seems like these exist to add meaning and pleasure to any adventure. This new pathway added character to our yard. Some days it was an escape and other times it was an entryway sometimes into reality, and other times fantasy. This path was exhilarating. I didn’t have to know or have a destination. I knew it would take me wherever I needed to be.
The sound and feel of the pathway under my feet was everything I had hoped for. In the summer, I ran barefoot across the top of it. I didn’t have to worry about where it ended, because it didn’t end. It fed into a long country road. I only had to choose left or right. When I chose right, I ran along some tall bamboo and around another bend where I could hop onto a familiar path that brought me to our pond. The pond was in a wooded area. The pathway that circled around the pond intensified and influenced every experience. It changed from dirt to a gravel feel. There was no grass around the path or pond, the absence of people was felt. I no longer wished to be barefoot. I never had to create a dramatic entrance when defining this place. It was a secret, shadowy like a monster waiting to swallow you whole. Of course, my fears of the pond and the path around it were inflated. The pond, with its path encircling it tried its best to look and sound impressive, but it was a bit too bombastic for me. Bombastic, you know, like self-absorbed or exaggerated.
Back on track and looking for something less tragic and lonely. I was now in the middle of the bamboo patch. The bamboo was so invasive. It took over the path and anything in its way. I looked up to find where the sun was because I wanted to know how much time I had before it got dark. If I got lost, I would build a small fire and harvest the bamboo for wood and food. These were the thoughts that crossed my seven-year-old mind as I crossed into new territory on my expedition. How would I survive after dark? Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world, and just maybe I can learn where that speed comes from. Being on this path is fun, but it can be an exhilarating and dangerous experience too. Maybe I should go back, prepare properly and return at zero seven hundred hours. Exploring can take a lot of energy, especially in the extreme temperatures of a Texas summer. No, I am a Texan, I will move forward. Water and food seem like basic things, drastic times take drastic measures. Back then, I was a normal kid; today, I’d probably be locked away.
Navigating nature is complicated and complex. I had to stay on the path and keep moving forward, the bamboo was in my rear-view. I knew how to orient myself without a compass or a map. There is a real sense of conquering, confidence, and security from knowing exactly where you are on your expedition in the woods. I was tuned into my surroundings; I owned these woods. Well, my parents actually held the title, but I owned the trails, trees, butterflies, and bees. Until I was stung by twenty-three yellow jackets. Never have I moved so fast, so fast that I ran smack dab into a spider’s web. I didn’t know fear until that huge golden orb-weaving spider clung to my face. Don’t tell me it is a common garden spider, theatrics needed, they do bite. Did this path lead me to my death? I was spinning around, screaming at the top of my lungs, wondering who would find me in this jungle. My faithful German Shepard, that’s who. Sheba was her name. With one long, strong lick, she cleared my entire face from the spider and my tears. Together, Sheba and I faced the pathway that led back to my mother’s arms.
I’m back. I hope you didn’t think that would stop me. I’m from Texas. We have diamondbacks and cottonmouth snakes as playmates. I am stretching it a bit. They scare me to death. The only place I want to see alligators or rattlesnakes is on a pair of boots. That’s another topic. This may not seem very blog(ish), and that’s okay. You have your opinions and I have mine. You can go your way, and I can go mine, after the story. I love getting back on the right track, finding the right path, knowing the direction I want to take. Carving out a new path tends to involve a lot of trial and error. Sometimes I change paths so that I don’t end up where I am heading. I have come to undertone that the word path has a different definition for each person. I like the physical paths under my feet. Each path I find, mysterious, dark, or brightly colored with flowers lining the way, I think it was meant for me to walk on, just like the seven-year-old looking out her back door. I am not referencing CCR, but I will give a great band the spotlight anytime. We are all naturally drawn to different things. I am drawn to pictures of paths, the idea of a path, and the actual path.
Nighttime is brilliant at changing everything. In Texas, when the day turns dark, lightning bugs light up the way. The bugs lit up bottoms led my imagination down the path one last time. At some point, I started feeling uneasy. I began to tip-toe. Something deep inside me warned me not to make a sound. There, sitting on the opposite side of the pond was a man. He asked in a whisper, “You there, what’s your name?” I started to answer but noticed he put his finger over his mouth softly, quietly he stood up. My name came out of his mouth with smoke swirling around it. He held his hand up, gesturing for me not to come any closer. He said, “I am Lazarus.” The only Lazarus I knew about; Jesus rose from the dead. I felt something brush past me. Sheba now stood between me and the smokey-filled man. I never moved so fast, falling on the ground under my parents’ feet. I told the tale of my encounter once I could breathe normally. Suddenly, I remembered this man being in our bathroom, shaving with a razor, from a coffee mug. My parents looked around at each family member, aunts and uncles and grandparents, all looked afraid and stunned.
After a quick bath and a cold glass of milk, my parents laid me down on my warm pillow to sleep. My father explained that I could not have met a man on the path or at the pond, for his uncle Lazarus had died nine years or more, before I was born. His name was Lazarus. He did shave, using a coffee mug to hold his razor and shaving creams in. My father asked if I could describe the mug. I knew the mug well. Every detail, even the little chip inside the lip. My parents grew uneasy and concerned. My dad held the mug out in front of me. Inside was a razor and a soap bar. My dad had kept it all these years. I agreed with my parents that I wouldn’t ever go out to the woods alone, especially at night. My dad said Lazarus loved to sit and fish in the old pond. He loved the land. He loved adventures and paths, and he put in the new pathway between the house and the barn because Lazarus always wanted one there. As I sit here today looking at this path in front of me, so many memories are stirring inside of me. Should I attempt the next adventure alone?
Another intriguing topic ! Can’t wait for the next one.
You are our biggest fan, Miss Tracey! Thank you for reading!
Can’t wait to see where this path leads you.
It will lead me to my next blog. Thank you.
Go only with Sheba at your side!
Each of your blogs are always entertaining and know whenever you post it’s going to be a fascinating read!