Set Your Heart On Pilgrimage

huston woods3

I have from a very young age loved walking in the woods alone, my young nephew calls it “going on adventures”, I find such a strong connection to God and all of creation on these solo walks. Thus in the spring I try to make it out on these walks as often as the weather allows. One of my more recent walks took place in Huston Woods, one of Ohio’s many state parks. As I ambled along the trail, I certainly wasn’t expecting a steeplechase. Going deeper and deeper into myself and my thoughts I look down as if aroused from a light sleep and notice a fairly sizeable black and red snake its hood flared in warning/attack mode. I scream, jump and run back down the trail all in the same instant. After a moment of running I stop, gather my wits about me, pause until I sense the danger is gone and then I move forward. I move forward in fear and trepidation for what might lay in front of me, and yet so full of a new quiet strength that this frightened rabbit never knew she had.

I come to a flowing brook, that at first seems easily crossable but when I try to ford the stream I quickly realize the water is traveling too fast, the rocks are quite slippery and the water deeper than my first estimation. I think ‘surely I will drown’. I turn back, try another path. This time the road is overgrown and quickly turning into a quagmire, I become muddy and dirty and start sinking, yet I press on.

This trail is taking much longer than I had anticipated, the sun is slowly lowering, I am growing tired and hunger is setting in. I want to turn around but a more fierce hunger is propelling me forward.

Soon the trail ends at another brook, this one even deeper than the first, I steel myself and plunge into the water. The water is cold but stimulating and while I am now soaking wet, the water has washed me clean of the mud and dirt. While a bit banged up, I miraculously make it safely to the other side. Though exhausted I climb up the steep hill that is looming before me. When I finally reach the top I sit down bedside a tree, resting after a long and perilous journey. A gentle spring breeze caresses me as the sun shines down its peace.