>A Walk in the Forest

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No one who knows me, even remotely, would identify me as a timid person.
But I have a big secret not too many people are aware of… I am afraid … most of the time… of not being able to succeed… being ridiculed…. being disregarded …. even being alone in deserted places. This last one has been a predicament I’ve had to live with as far back as I can remember that affects all the different facets of my life…. even my daily exercise.

I started to walk this year. After I drop the kids off at school, on my way home, I stop and walk along a track situated on the sidewalk between a thoroughfare and a huge forest. I really enjoy the exercise except for the exhaust fumes.

I put on my Ipod and start my five and a half kilometer walk all the while taking a peek at the forest. In a matter of minutes I am transported to a completely different plane and start to go through my silent, daily ritual of finishing off all the left over arguments from home and giving vent to all my ideas. I am quite a happy individual when I can have this little time to myself, free to be completely candid.

This is not a time just for quiet reflections and re-energizing though; I also keep track of all that is going on around me. Periodically, I check to see how long and how far I have been walking, if anyone has called me, and even the people who are walking along the path in the forest – those I am especially aware of. Oh, how I envy them for being able to breath in the fresh smell of pines and the adventure of being in the midst of nature.

I have been very fascinated by that forest since I started to walk there, it looks so beautiful and quiet, in some of my more fanciful moments I imagine it is calling out to me.
I’ve heard that it leads to a lake.
As I am walking along the fence and sighing over how nice it would be to be on the other side, the branches from the pines reach out and tease my senses.

It’s not a deserted forest either, people are going in and out for their morning walk all the time. I’ve been tempted to just follow one of them one of these days but something always held me back. There is no discernible reason for not doing it…
I am there already…walking… no one to discourage or stop me… I already posses the necessary qualifications (the will and energy to walk and proper footwear) I am not even sure what else there is that I could possibly need. None of those people over there posses anything more than I have…. except…. courage, maybe.
I ask myself what I am so afraid of … and find nothing but feeble excuses for not doing it…

Well, all of this changed as of yesterday.

I went into the forest…..

I was feeling quite courageous that day and decided that it was now or never and took my first step in. I spotted a group of ladies, stretching… so I started walking along the path that is parallel and quite visible from the road and when they started moving, following them discreetly, from another path.
I removed my headphones immediately with the expectation of being greeted by bird songs…. but unfortunately was only met with the sounds of distant traffic.
This did not dampen my enthusiasm one bit, I just kept going…
I realized the forest was not as deserted as I had thought, there were a lot of people about – couples, groups of ladies and gentlemen.
I thought ‘There we are, this wasn’t so scary as I thought’ but when I checked my watch, as is my habit, I realized I had been walking for about twenty minutes already and decided to head back… enough excitement for one day.
There were times I was a little nervous since I couldn’t see anyone around me but I counted that off as a positive for burning extra calories from all that adrenaline.

I went back again the today….

This time I recognized a lady from the day before who was walking by herself.
So, I approached her and asked her if she walked here alone everyday and if it was safe.
She said yes and offered to show me the way around a path that was opening up to a plateau with a mesmerizing view of the lake.

I was right… this place was really amazing… oh what a view… and it wasn’t all that hard to accomplish either… just a little bit of courage and determination….
It was so quiet that it reminded me of skiing down a deserted slope and hearing only the sound of my skis gliding on the fresh snow.
Before I knew it, we were back where we had entered the forest, I hadn’t checked my watch once, I had not paid any attention to any of the passers-by, I had no idea how long a path it was and… I didn’t even care… I felt so content and free…oh and also as if I had achieved a gargantuan task…
Well, I had gone where I had not gone before, I had talked and befriended a total stranger and now I knew what was in the depths of the forest.

Now, if I can only take this new adventurous self out of the forest and into my everyday life I could conquer the world…at least put a chink in my obsessive compulsive nature, I hope….