New Paths



I’m awake before dawn this winter morning, the first day of February, with too many thoughts to sleep through.

A couple inches of new snow fell here on Beaver Island, the night before last.

We’d had a warm day, a little melting and considerable wind before that.

The path I followed down Cotter’s Trail, created by tramping through the snow twice a day, had been obliterated.

No deeply patterned tracks from my winter boots.

No paw prints, large or small, in the fresh snow.

There were no traces of rabbit or deer or coyote.

No patterns showing the route snowmobiles took.

Just pure white, unblemished snow all the way.


A little intimidating, too.

I thought of the distance between footfalls, the curve of the new path we were creating and whether my tracks looked as if I were walking “pigeon-toed”. It seemed like a lot of responsibility, being the first one down the trail.

I feel that I’m making new paths in my life, as well.

That has happened before, off and on over the years.

I like to think of myself as a fairly steady person.

I don’t jump in and out of relationships. Friendships are forged for a lifetime. I’m pretty steadfast in whatever job I am doing.

It doesn’t feel like I’m digging a hole, just traveling the same path each day, until change is upon me.

Whether the need for change comes from outside forces or from within, it comes with a whole host of varied emotion.

There is the realization that I have, in fact, dug a little rut by following the same route for so long. It takes a little extra effort to veer from the path.

There is exhilaration, excitement, that adrenalin flow of new adventure and new possibilities.

Finally, there is anxiety.

Whether it’s an untouched canvas, a different job, a new friend or an unblemished snow-scape, I want the marks I make to be good ones.

That’s why I’m up before the sun this morning.

27 responses »

  1. We miss you Cindy. Your poetic words of wisdom brought a smile and a wistful nostalgia for the island this morning. XOX Franny

    • Yes, you’re right, equal parts fear and exhilaration. The fear comes mostly from feeling not up to the task…but also fear that the change is not the life changing wonder that it is imagined to be. Exhilaration from knowing it’s worth the chance.Thank you, Joss, for reading, and for your good wishes!

    • So sweet! You’ve almost made me cry! I can’t respond to this the way I’d like, ’cause I don’t know how to make or use those little smiley faces that would let everyone know I was teasing…but you know what I’m thinking! Thanks, my friend, for reading, and for your sweet comment.

    • And it IS a cold snow this year, Yvonne! This morning, at barely above zero, I’m wondering if we’ll get our walk in at all. Thank you for reading, and for your lovely words of encouragement!

    • Thank you, Stacie! Being up early…once I make the decision to get out of bed…always feels like stolen, precious bonus time, just like when I had family snoozing, and had only that bit of time all to myself. Thank you for reading, and for your comments!

      • You’re welcome! I like to get up early too, but my husband is always up earlier than me. He’s an ex-farmer, and an early riser. But that’s okay, since I like his company. 🙂 If I want stolen, precious, bonus time, I stay up late. 🙂

  2. Congratulations on realizing that your rut is no longer comfortable and you want to strike out into new territory. And for realizing your nervousness. I think most new paths bring up fear of the unknown. It’s an adventure. I am so happy for you.

    • Thank you! That is high praise coming from you; I just checked out your blog and was extremely impressed with your thoughtful and well researched writing. I’ve just subscribed! Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind comments.

  3. Gosh, Cindy, I love this post! The simplicity and the profundity (sp?) of the image is powerful. Somehow your words, your ordering of them, allows me to feel myself moving down that same path with you. That’s a gift!

    Hope you’re warm this weekend–and your steps are steadfast!


    • Thank you, Kathryn, for this encouraging and poetic response! I’m afraid none of my “new paths” are as big or as life-changing as yours, but the basic fear/excitement/anticipation is the same, just in different degrees. I’ll be posting soon about the new changes in my life. I’m so excited to hear about the changes for you!

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