In the Woods, Looking for my Footing

Just when I’m feeling quite lost in the woods,
a friend texts,
“If you feel like a bit of hiking, come.”
and I go,
not because I like a bit of hiking,
but because I think it’ll do me good
to be around other people.

We descend a steep incline
toward a ravine,
no sign of an established path.

She carries a clipper
and goes ahead of me,
clipping thorny branches
that threaten.

Beneath a deep bed of leaves
a loose spot gives way
and I slide slowly,
until I am on my back
next to a tree stump,
looking up.

She turns around, says,
“Uh-oh. I knew when you stopped talking,
something must have happened

a dozen times
for having brought me
the hilly way.

“No, this is good.
A fitting metaphor –
struggling to find my footing

She holds her hand out, to help me up.
I can do it myself, I’m pretty sure,
but I lay that thought aside
and take her hand,
just because,
just because it’ll be good for me to do that.

And find,
when on my feet again,
things I thought would hurt don’t.
I’m okay.
I’ve been wondering if I will be okay.

I probably would have done more damage
insisting I do it myself.

past where deer have rubbed
and bear has clawed,
and I am glad for her dog,
accompanying us –
something I was once afraid of,
now a companion to me.

but I am not alone

and this thought
is sweet comfort
right in the middle of
lost bearings
and lost footing.

Turning toward home
we come to clearings
and paths from which to choose.

Something has turned in me
while leaves have crunched underfoot
so loud we can barely converse.

An hour well-spent.
The woods.
I take a tumble,
but come out okay
and find I am not alone.

And this night, I sleep well.

I was once terrified of dogs. No more.

Paths from which to choose.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
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