A couple of Saturdays ago, it snowed about six inches, and the thought of walking the dog on Sunday seemed like a challenge. I knew the sidewalk to the park was not plowed yet, but I put on my boots with the yak tracks and set off with Lila by my side. As we walked along the snowy path, there was only one set of people tracks made by a person with smaller boots than mine. It looked like the person marched through the snow lifting their knees with each step. I tried to follow the footsteps because it would be easier than making my own. The person who had gone this way before me did not appear to drag their feet. I tried to do the same.
Lila didn’t worry about following someone else’s tracks. She walked and ran along and made her own path and didn’t care about ruining the blanket of pristine snow with her scattered trail. Every so often, she stopped and put her nose straight in the snow in search of whatever had caught her attention. When her snout was out from underneath the pile, her face was speckled with white flakes, and I wondered how she could tolerate that cold up her nostrils. It didn’t bother her because she continued to do that all along the way.
Traveling was easier when we finally got to the plowed part of the park. Lila stayed to the side to walk on a tiny path of snow. A lot of people were walking that afternoon enjoying how the fresh snow made everything spotless. The clouds were light and fluffy too, drifting by like a summer day.
Lila was excited when we got back to the snowy path leading us on our way home. The path I’d followed about 45 minutes earlier was still there, but someone had walked over the tracks I made. Even though we walked farther along the same way, I did not see the crisscross pattern of my yak tracks. Every step was covered by someone else’s, but Lila’s tracks were where she left them.
Even if a path has already been made, we don’t have to follow it, even though it might be easier. Sometimes we have to make our own new tracks. Be like Lila, and make your own trail.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where
there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson