A Choice of Paths
the biggest step forward
is a step back,
to find the place
you left the path,
following someone else’s journey
instead of your own.
About this poem
I was about 14. I was on a hike with a large group of Boy Scouts. We came to a fork in path. It wasn’t marked clearly, so we picked one, and off we went. A couple of hours later, it became clear to some of us that we were on the wrong path.
A few of us went back, to cat calls and ridicule, found the fork and went the other way. The bulk of the group stayed the course and went forward. It turned out our little band was right. We had a glorious hike, great views, and came back to the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain at the time we expected to.
Five hours later the other group wandered in, bedraggled, tired, having walked and wandered all over the place, with no views and finally having to use their compasses and cutting across the mountainside without a path to get back to us.
It is a lesson I have carried and had to apply several times in life.
Sometimes we have to go backwards to go forward. And there is no shame in that.