Sunday, June 2, 2013

Occupational Hazards

Occupational hazards of the poet: getting lost on the quiet, meditative morning walk in the woods, creating the platform for epiphanies...

When I first entered the trail, I wanted nothing more rigorous than a morning constitutional to get my metabolism kickstarted.  After 3 days of meetings in chairs, I needed a good stretch.  

I entered mulling over another occupational hazard: book sales.  Waiting out that advance sales period, wondering if your book is going to go to print.  Thinking, “I can market all I want, but can’t make people buy the book...I must depend on them to do it, in time...and wait it out.”  

In I went on Morton Trail...followed by Coon Crossing and The Path Down Under.  Too easy, too short; I pressed on, in the company of cardinals, crows and red spiders.  Fire Road Loop, Ranger Loop, Man Bites Dog Loop.  

Too many loops...where’s the guest house?!  I walked on and the signs got more and unhelpful, until the inevitable sign-missing-at-critical-juncture moment.  I stared at the signless fork in the road ahead of me, while a line from a Robert Frost poem floated through my mind.  I turned to the left.  

That led me through two more loops.  Man Bites Dog.  Ranger...uh-oh....

“I’m not going to get out of here without help,” I realized.  “I’m going to need to run into another hiker or biker.” 

In time, the biker appeared.  He pointed out the route, said to wait at the parking lot, and if I was not where I needed to be, he'd drive me home.  And off he sped.  

A couple of miles later I extricated myself from all the loops, and emerged in a parking lot, recognizing nothing.  A few minutes later the biker reappeared, asked if I was ok, and was this where I had entered.  Nope.  He looked puzzled as he tried to figure out where I had, and smiled when we found my entry point--with the help of GPS--several miles up the road.  

“Y’all had a good ole stroll this morning!”  

“And I couldn’t have finished without you!” I acknowledged, as he dropped me off.  

I have a few more loops to go on this advance sales period--3 to be exact--and I’m not going to get out of here without help. I’m far from the goal, waiting for my audience to show up, getting a good workout.   Click here to close the loop! 

I’ll be glad when I find you.  

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