Have you ever stopped to think how many of our most used ‘sayings’ come from the activity of walking? Phrases such as: off the beaten track; wrong-footed; beat a path; leave a footprint; on the right track, etc,. How many more can you think of?
I wonder if this is the same in all languages? After all, walking is a fundamental part of being human, as is eating and sleeping etc,. We even celebrate being able to do it for the first time as a right of passage from crawling baby to upright toddler. (So that’s what our ‘pins’ are for.)
But let’s not get side-tracked! That’s the point. As we all know, sometimes when on a mission, it is very easy to get side-tracked often ending up down a blind alley and wasting a lot of time in the process. When I am out walking, I become increasingly aware of the little paths that suddenly shoot off the main track. These unsolicited paths immediately pique my interest. Why are they there? If time permits, my inclination is to follow the side-track to discover the reason for it. A bit like trying to discover what lies at the end of the rainbow. The thinking is that there must be a jolly good reason for it to exist because so many people have ventured ‘off-piste’ that a new path has been forged in the process.
Maybe a search for the perfect viewpoint; a track into a secret coven; a lover’s dell, a detour to avoid a boggy patch or a ‘comfort break’ bush! Maybe it is an animal track or simply a short cut to crop the corner off an approved path. I love this sort of anarchy. Although in extreme circumstances such as a war zone, I wouldn’t recommend taking this line of action for fear of stepping on a land mine or coming into someone’s line of fire. War besides, it just proves that many of us are always willing to make our own diversions (because to us, it is the most obvious route) even when there is a clear sign saying ‘keep off the grass’. There I go again…..another ‘path’ metaphor!