Two Roads

(My Writer's Journal)

Two roads diverge in the woods

And I…

I stood there.

Not knowing which way to turn.

The day began early with bright blue skies and a hint of wistful breezes in the air. I could hear the robins outside my window playing in the pecan tree. Two frolicking squirrels were leaping from branch to branch collecting what they could for an early breakfast. Honestly, I felt as if I were in a Disney princess movie. I waited for the little mice to suddenly appear to help me dress and make my breakfast. Thank goodness, it didn’t happen. I don’t think I would have been that thrilled to see scurrying grey creatures and their little black droppings all through my kitchen, anyway. So I got out of bed, dressed myself, and toasted my own bagel for breakfast.

After about an hour on Facebook and a few annoying calls on my phone, I went outside to sit on my front porch. If I have the day off from work, you can be sure I’m going to be relaxing at home doing whatever I please. Today was no exception. Yet I felt a bit anxious. I couldn’t sit still for some reason. I wanted to do something different, but I wasn’t sure what that was. In my head, I knew I should be cleaning. My house was a mess. The insides of my refrigerator needed to be permanently banished to the trash can. The dust bunnies and monsters under my bed were setting up townships and city ordinances. And seriously, whatever blew up in my bathroom should have been declared a state-wide emergency, The troops should have been deployed.

But the sun was shining. The birds were singing. Fluffy little dandelion heads were bobbing up and down in the wind. Cleaning the house was work. And today was my day off from the ritualistic torture of customer service I provided every other day of my life. I stood up from my rocking chair, shook my head, and emphatically declared, “NO. I’m not cleaning today.”

Today, I would go for a walk. I would leave behind the crumb covered butter knife on the counter, the soaking crock pot in the sink, and the tea stained mug beside the couch. I would shake up the hum drum atmosphere that beckoned me, and I would venture into the unknown dredges of Small-town, America. In the midst of jacked up cars roaring by, and bicycle horns blaring, I plotted my route to avoid any and all casualties. To the left of me, toddlers terrorized their mothers, while preteens roamed liked mindless zombies staring into their phones. Old men sat on rocking chairs, waiting for their plump wives to finish buying ancient antiques. I shook my head and rolled my eyes.

With calculated steps, I turned to the right. Roads clear, and hindrances hidden, I looked both ways and crossed the street. Nothing was in my way. I could go wherever I wanted. I headed for the other side of the park.

Only once before had I ventured so far. Usually, I stopped at the little ice cream/coffee shop when I strolled. Someone I knew usually worked there, so I would buy a delicious treat and then sit around for a few minutes to chat. The few minutes would turn to an hour and the next thing I knew, it was time to go home. Not today. Today would be different. I would not stop for coffee or ice cream. I was on a mission. I was going to do something I had never done before. Plus, I decided that if I really wanted to stop for an ice cream, I could buy one on the way home. I continued to walk.

The cool refreshing shade of the park must have been calling my name, because I reached my destination faster than I expected. I barely remembered passing the broken legged riding horse and the uneven chained swing. How did I manage to scoot by the massive bird pooped picnic bench unnoticed? Time felt so fleeting, and yet, it stood still in that moment. Even the sun held its breath. I know. I could tell, because a sudden chill ran up my spine. Was someone watching me? Had I stepped into some kind of no man’s land full of mystery and mayhem? I held my breath as I scanned behind each tree, and around each boulder. No one was there. I looked down. My bare skinned arms were covered in tiny, pointed goose bumps. I sighed. I was being paranoid. I had just forgotten to bring a sweater.

The forest was filled with fragrant aromas of fresh earth and blooming wildflowers. Occasionally, a distinct odor of fried dough and warm oil wafted under my nose. I figured it was the street vendor setting up his display for our town carnival. I tried to peer deep between the old trees to see what fortune and gain I would find by furthering my trip. Off to the right, the meek muses of children playing on the jungle gym could be heard in the distance. To the left, there was silence, yet thousands of bees were buzzing around the growing flora on the ground. I wasn’t crazy; I was not going that way.

My path had led me straight into the woods — immense real wooden trees, with low lying branches and bushes. Swirls of vines rushed into prickly leaves and thorny flowers, while buzzing insects full of venom and malice taunted my choice. It was a wall of unadulterated wilderness. It was clear that Mother Nature did not want to be disturbed.

There I stood, in front of two roads in the woods. It actually happened to me.

Two roads diverge in the woods

And I…

I stood there.

Not knowing which way to turn. 

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Two Roads