Midway through the month of December on an otherwise ordinary Saturday afternoon, I needed an escape from normality. Not in some weird or eccentric way. It’s just that I had become entrenched in a rut of routine that can become comfortable—but debilitating.
I needed something different and new, even if it wasn’t something I’d remember as monumental for all of eternity. The Linear Trail is a 2.6-mile trail that spurs off the entrance to the Brevard Zoo. Running parallel to the interstate, there are stretches where the traffic noise is almost deafening and others where I was surprised by the tranquil environment surrounding me.
There were bikers, joggers, and walkers. There were couples, families, and friends sharing smiles and conversations. There was pavement, boardwalk, and subtle up-and-down elevation changes that are decidedly unique in Florida.
I heard cardinals nestled in the forest, saw egrets perched in the trees, watched armadillos scuttle into the brush, and slowed down to the speed of a turtle as I witnessed one sunning on the side of the path. I took in the entire view, left and right, not just what was directly in front of me. I looked up and down. And when I did the latter, looked down, I was greeted by a most inspired message from Mother Nature.
The leaf-shaped heart on the boardwalk reminded me that love finds you when you least expect it. And it’s not just love of a romantic nature that I speak of… it’s love in its purest and most elemental form. An intense feeling of deep affection: for others, for your passions, for yourself.
It’s funny. In my mind’s eye, I set out on that afternoon to walk a linear trail. And I had envisioned it as this straight path from beginning to end, with nary a bend in it. Naïve, I know. But that’s the way life works. We see what we’re conditioned to see. And that’s why embarking upon new experiences opens our eyes to new possibilities and perspectives. There were as many twists and turns in my emotional and mental state on that day as there were on the physical path before me.
Keep walking your own path. Keep discovering. Keep trying new things. But always remember to look left, right, up, and down. What you find might surprise you. And it might be just what you need.
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