This Crazy Life, Wolfdreams...

Finding The Path Forward

September is here, there’s a cool nip in the air at night, a few leaves are starting to change… Summer is coming to an end, and Autumn is beginning.

For many of my dearest friends, this brings a deep sigh of relief, and a hope that the worst is over. For almost everyone I know, it’s been a difficult Summer, full of one personal crisis after another, just as it has been for my family.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see the way forward when a crisis strikes, to find the Path you should follow. You look around in confusion and see only obstacles.

“Fauna” by Charlie Terrell

When I found this beautiful image of Fauna, Guardian of the Wood, I was reminded that, often, looking to Nature will help me find the clues and inspiration I need to find my Path again.

Sometimes, it is as if we stand in a deep, dark forest, surrounded by thick trees and brush, knowing not which way to go. We have lost our bearings, lost our way, lost our Path.

Fauna reminds us that when we find ourselves lost in the dark Forest of Life, to listen to our wild Hearts, and follow the Deer’s Trail, and we will find our way.

Deer Trail by Heather L. Loyd, via Flickr

What does that mean, to follow the Deer’s Trail? Well, the Deer are creatures of habit, and travel well-worn paths through the woods and meadows. Their cloven hooves cut deep into the earth, and pack it hard into a narrow dirt trail. Their paths often intersect and overlap with the paths made by humans, and many a hiker has lost the human trail when they veered off unknowingly onto a deer trail.

But deer also go places humans wouldn’t think to go – but could go.. They go over fallen trees, instead of being stopped by them, trees you might have to climb over. They go under bushes in perfect tunnels – perfect for their size, and for your’s, too, if you’re willing to scramble and crawl through where they go with ease.

Deer who doesn’t want to get his hooves wet!

Many’s the time I’ve run down a deer trail, barefoot, hair flying, as One with the Earth, being the Wildling I am in my Heart. And many’s the times the deer trails have shown me unexpected routes through, around, over or past obstacles.

Sometimes we look for a way forward in our lives, a clear trail, and seeing only our obstacles, we don’t see how we can do it, but if we’re willing to view them from a different angle, to scramble & climb, the Path may become clear. That is following the Deer Trail.

Once upon a time, following a deer trail literally saved my life.

Many years ago, when I was in my 20’s, my husband & I were looking for land to buy, and checking out Tennessee around the Smoky Mountains. We had already looked once at an incredibly beautiful and huge piece of land, something like 2-300 acres. Before we made an offer, we wanted to give it one final, really good, going over, since that’s a lot of land to check out.

We had parked our trusty Suburu at the gate & walked in, marveling at the forests, the open meadows, large cedar trees, beautiful big rugged stones, and a lovely lake. It was gorgeous, and I just loved it.

Poly Tunnel

Then we came to an area that had a tractor sitting by it, and a large tilled spot. There were three very long poly tunnels over it, the kind you use to protect plants from frost. It seemed to me that first frost should have been past, and I could see some of the plants were just about touching the tops of the inside of the tunnels, which were around 4′ tall, but I couldn’t see what they were.

So I took a look, as did my husband. They sure weren’t the tomatoes under my poly tunnels at home! No, they were pot plants, and each tunnel had plants in different stages of growth. The oldest plants were starting to bud, and were almost ready for harvest.

We looked at the sheer number of plants, looked at each other, realised our car was parked at the gate by the road, and said in unison, “We’ve got to get out of here, NOW!” It had to have been hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of weed, street value, if not more. This was backwoods Tennessee. We knew what would happen if we were caught up there – we’d just disappear. And nobody even knew where we were.

Then we heard the sound of an ATV heading our way, and decided we would be better off to split up – that way there was a higher chance at least one of us would make it out alive. We took off, running for our lives, in different directions, on land we didn’t know at all, this only being the second time we’d set foot on it.

I wound up coming to a hill that led to the creek that bordered the property, and I knew if I got to the creek I could follow it to the road.

Greenbrier Vines

My feet flew as I followed a deer trail down the treacherously steep hill, only to find, half-way down, that the entire bottom of the hillside, as far as I could see, was covered in a giant thicket of greenbrier, 6 or 7 feet high. It looked completely impenetrable, and to my eyes, the deer trail just ended at the edge of the greenbrier… until I leaned down, and saw it went into the greenbrier thicket.

I heard the ATV getting closer, and voices, but they couldn’t see me yet, so I followed the deer trail, into the greenbrier. The deer apparently aren’t bothered by the thorns, and I found a well worn tunnel they’d made, about 3′ high, with dirt on the bottom.

I crawled thru the greenbrier on hands and knees, while it grabbed at my clothes, my arms and legs, slowing me down. At one point, I froze when I heard the ATV stop at the top of the hill, and people talking. I was completely hidden in the seemingly impenetrable greenbrier thicket.

They moved on, and I eventually emerged, scratched all to heck, but the deer trail had saved me. I met my husband at the car and we took off, and passed on Tennessee entirely!

There is always a Path for us to follow, although at times it’s hard to see. For those of you struggling, who can’t see a way forward, listen to your Heart, and try looking for your Path from another angle. The way may be found in an unexpected place… and you might have to crawl through some briars first. But you will find your way again!

3 thoughts on “Finding The Path Forward”

  1. I know you are trying to teach me things here, dear Ash, something about coping and I am learning it but I don’t want to. I am having trouble finding my path for the future, I would so like to help my husband and try to work and make money but I’ve been feeling awful and finding a job right now, even part time is grim.
    I’m having a hard time seeing into my future path….having Fibro I’m so tired it’s hard to even focus…..love, your friend Laurie

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    1. I will help you find your Path, Laurie. First, you need a better doctor, and I just posted a blog post about how to find one. Hang on to Hope, and know how much you are Loved, by so many!
      ~Ash

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  2. What a great story!!! I wish I had a field myself, but I would never take such a chance. After living in the mountains of NC, near TN, you are so right on about what would have happened if you hadn’t left. You would have disappeared without a trace. For sure!

    I agree with Laurie Ash. I can’t see my path either. The one I see is not good. I wish I could see a better one. I know you’ve said get a better doctor, but I can’t. NC sucks for doctors. I think I have one of the best here. He does give me referrals, but the specialists are usually really big #@*****s. He says he doesn’t believe in CFS, but he did put it my history (after I saw that it wasn’t there and complained to him). Still, he put “Chronic Fibromyalgia Fatigue” –that is BS. He is the one who diagnosed me with CFS after RMSF in ’05. I remember so clearly him saying how sick a person had to be, and for at least 6 months, before he would ever diagnose a patient with CFS, but he sure did.

    I often wonder if he forgot. I need to address this with him soon because it bothers me. I was diagnosed first by Immunologists with “Post Infectious Disease Syndrome,” and when I went back to my doctor, he wrote “CFS from RMSF.” How, six years later, can this be forgotten! I often think they are scared to tell the truth. I have paper copies of the diagnosis, and when it feels right, I am going to copy them and take them to him. I got them from his office. Big sigh…

    I absolutely must go do my desk chores, like pay my power bill, or I won’t have a virtual connection.

    Thank you for the space to share and for your friendship. I hope to read your “Advice” post soon. Big hugs and Love!

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