Pathways and Trespassing
Back story: I’m graduating college this week.
Present story: I thought I’d go on a reflective walk and wander down new streets. The reflecting thing wasn’t really happening a whole lot, but I was having a great time looking at the beautiful houses and thinking about owning a dog as soon as possible. Then I came to this street crossing that was like a six-way stop. Very intense. After thinking pretty hard, I picked one. And per usual, I regretted it a hot second because it led me up a gigantic hill and my asthma was kicking in.
I headed further and further into this neighborhood until all of the sudden, the houses just stopped. Right there was this huge, beautiful field with overgrown patches of clover and a tree here and there. The sun was setting behind it, and it felt like peace and beauty and good things. I looked down at my feet, and lo and behold there was a wide path that led straight through it. Bless it all, it was meant to be. I figured it was a little park or something and I silently thanked my favorite city for doing that for me. I followed the path a little ways but not far because it went straight back and disappeared in a bunch of trees and it looked kinda scary. So I went for this lone tree right in the middle and I sat down.
Problem one, the ground was wet. My pants were a nice light grey and unfortunately they did not stay that way. Anyway, I sat down and after a couple seconds of wincing over the thought that I was going to have to walk a long way home with dirt stains on my back end, I surveyed my new spot. I was on a hill and I couldn’t really see much, but it was beautiful.
So there I am, thinking about this spot in life and praying and talking to myself. Out loud mostly. And I stared a good bit at the sun setting, thinking how perfect it was. Then it happens. I see an SUV. And they are slowing down to a snail’s pace. A little creepy, but that could be normal. Then they do it, they turn right straight towards me. I squinted at the path that now looked a little wider than I originally thought, and looked back at the part that was shrouded by trees. My heart went to my toes. Behind the trees, I finally make out the shape of a stupid, dumb, HOUSE.
I was sitting in someone’s front yard.
It was not an open field. It was not a park. It was an overly large and massively deceptive front yard.
#1. They desperately need a lawn mower.
#2. Chances of them not seeing me? None, they are now a foot away.
#3. Pretend not to see them or wave?
So there I sat, awkwardly making eye contact with an SUV full of four girls who are literally driving within feet of me and they look torn between confusion, concern, and laughing at me. They didn’t seem terribly upset so I went with the waving, and silently prayed they would stop so I could apologize for sitting in their front yard and explain that I thought it was a public field. Then I changed my mind and prayed they’d just keep going.
They did and the minute they were behind me, I stood up and walked quickly back to the road and I laughed the whole way home. I made no new friends, I barely processed things, and my pants got wet. But I really enjoyed the first five minutes by the tree.
Things aren’t going the way I planned.
I’m lost and it’s okay. Life feels weird and really hard, and that’s okay too. Sometimes the five minutes by the tree is all you need and the rest you can just laugh at until you find home again.
Lesson: Beware of wide paths. It's probably a driveway.