I had a half day to myself at the end of a delightful Highlights Foundation workshop with my co-leader Cynthia Leitich Smith and our amazing TA, Sean Petrie, with visiting wonder-agents Ginger Knowlton and Elizabeth Harding of Curtis Brown, Ltd. I was left exhausted but my mind kept on buzzing. A hike seemed in order. The trails on the Highlights map beckoned. The sun came out. The birds chirped. The universe seemed to be urging me to step into the wilderness and find myself.
My two hour hike turned out to be a kind of living metaphor for the writing of any large work–a novel, a nonfiction book–where you can’t see the forest for the trees.
- I got lost more than once.
- I followed the blazes on the trail.
- The well-marked trail I was blazing with enthusiasm branched off into an unmarked ramble. There was a trail but it didn’t quite sync with the map.
- The leaves crunched pleasantly under my feet.
- I passed the same tree three times and each time I noticed something new about it.
- I was uneasily aware that this was tick country.
- A flock of blue jays diverted and distracted me so I lost track of time.
- A major signpost pointed firmly to the last stretch–but was upside down.
Yup. All in a day’s work. Highly recommended. What’s the point of writing (or hiking) if you don’t take risks?