In my last blog, I described our lovely little farm in Manitowaning, but I didn’t really give you the full picture…let me add a few details.
Our eastern boarder ran along Highway 6, and McMullen side road on the south side. We had another farm on our north boarder…the neighbour who had the pigs that delighted my sheep dog and on our west boarder was our forest and part of the Manitowaning Golf course. Our forest was crammed full of a thick tangle of low bushes and trees…it was there that I spent much of my time since one of my hobbies has always been trail cutting. When I had a day off my biggest joy was hiking back to my forest and working on my latest trail. Let me share an example.
On this particular morning, I had decided that I needed a connecting trail between the main trail and the most southerly trail. I had the whole day to get this job done and since it wasn’t that far between these two trails I expected to plot, cut and clear the trail in one day…so off I hiked, machete in hand. I headed along the main trail and when I had reached the half way mark, I prepared to begin the work. I dug in my pockets for my compass to get a rough bearing…my trails were not precision planned paths…they were more like an art form…free to zig and zag while still heading roughly in the direction that I had determined. However it was frustrating to discover that I had left my compass behind…rats! It would take me an hour to walk home and back again, just for a compass. Perhaps I didn’t really need a compass for such a short trail? After all I just had to head roughly south and I would intersect the other trail at some point…it didn’t really matter where, I reasoned! My husband is a land surveyor and this sort of mentality drives him crazy! Anyway, I looked up at the sun…put my right shoulder in that direction and began cutting. Did I mention that the bush was pretty thick and that you could barely see through it?? Well that did make it a bit harder to stay on a straight track, but I was confident in my superior (not) orienteering skills so off I went! The process was simple…just identify a tall tree in the direction you intend to go then cut the path to it…so simple…so easy! I sometimes had to deviate from the intended path to get around fallen logs and swampy spots, but surely that didn’t matter? I industriously repeated this process over and over throughout the morning, periodically stopping to wipe the sweat from my eyes and stare ahead to see if I could spot the other trail. There was no sign of it, even though I had been cutting for hours…curious…the trail was not that far from the main trail, but this path was taking forever to cut. Finally after about four hours of cutting I looked up and spotted the roof of a barn! “Great,” I thought “I must be almost there, I can see civilization.” Then it occurred to me that I had never noticed a barn within sight of the trail that I was cutting towards…how odd? Finally, I broke through to a trail…but what trail? It didn’t look at all like the trail that I had planned to intersect. ”Had someone else cut a trail in my bush,” I wondered indignantly? I took a good look around and spotted signs of recent cutting, “aha, someone has been cutting here, just as I thought.” Then I noticed a water bottle and a coat that looked suspiciously like mine. Upon closer inspection I confirmed that they were mine….hmmm?? I followed the trail…and came to the unfortunate conclusion…that I had spent all morning cutting the new trail in a complete circle…totally missing the trail that I was originally aiming for. I considered throwing brush on the trail and covering up my work so that my surveyor husband wouldn’t tease me, but after some thought…I confessed all and laughed with him!
I fondly called that trail, “The Lost Loop.”
So, here is the point…I was so sure that I knew what I was doing…that I didn’t need help…not from God…not from others…not from a simple device like a compass, that I plunged ahead on a wrong course. Well this event mirrors what has so often occurred in my life. All too frequently I have decided to blaze ahead alone…unknowingly choosing a wrong course of action. Using my own power, strength and wisdom to make these decisions, I have ended up going in circles or have travelled some errant paths. Oh…the frustration and pain I could have saved myself if I had turned to God or to the people that God provided to help me.
In the book, “Scruffy Finds His Way,” we see a young kid who often chooses the wrong path…but no matter what path he chooses there is a heavenly Father who is there to help him to find the right path…no matter how many wrong paths he chooses.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not onto your own understanding
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will direct your path.
Check out similar stories in “Finding His Way” a book of “lost” adventures available on-line or directly from me!
…until next time, Lynn!