I see a dark wood ahead. There’s a meadow at the edge, which I cross, purposeful, optimistic. I come to the edge of the wood. Stop. Look for a path. Step into the wood. Push through the brambles. Stride bravely. Falter. It’s deeper and darker than I thought it would be. The sky clouds over. It begins to rain. I shiver. Retrace my steps. Feeling lonely now. Wish I’d had a better breakfast. Thinking about coffee. Toast.
In a tree, two Jays: good omen. A magpie: bad omen.
I lie down for a minute, thinking I would like to sleep in the wood for hundreds of years, like Rip Van Winkle. I think of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, seduced and sedated by poppies…Captain Oates, who went to sleep in a snowdrift.
I trudge on. Another wrong path, lost and lost and dark and discouraged and why did I ever think this was a good idea, and where is everyone, and my feet hurt and now I want to cry. Trudge trudge trudge. I’m hungry. Bored with my own company. Cranky. Depressed.
Days, weeks, months.
And then a wide smooth road, almost paved, overhung with trees, if I push carefully through the underbrush I can get to it. And then an hour of peaceful straight walking. It smells of pine. I know where I’m going. Just for now.