A Walk in the Woods
By Rhonda L. Moore
Word Count: 1477
During a recent camping trip I decided to take a morning walk which is a normal thing for me to do. I have owned the property for several years and therefore am totally familiar with the land. I left the dirt road, which is actually a power company roadway and entered the back of the property, which is wooded. I was walking and surveying the condition of the area, not really entertaining any thoughts. I stopped for a few moments and then I am positive I turned to the left and began walking back to a roadway upon which I had left an old stroller to bring back for my granddaughter to play with. People are always dumping stuff in the woods and I had found it to the side of a roadway while walking toward the back of the property. I know in my heart I did not turn right. If I would have headed that way, it is a very short distance to another roadway, a roadway that is actually visible from where I was standing in the woods.
I had 3 dogs with me and we weaved through the trees but never changed directions. I felt kind of uneasy for some reason, like the walk back to the roadway was taking longer than it should have. But I knew I was headed in the right direction so I was thinking maybe we were walking at an angle and would end up further down the road than I was figuring. I am so insistence upon this because what happened is so impossible.
We came out upon a roadway that was entirely unfamiliar to me. A typical 2-track road for a wooded area, two tire grooves with a grassy center. And my thoughts were so cloudy at that moment; I knew I could not be lost, yet I felt as if I was. I looked around and off to the left was a wooden rail fence, it looked pretty new like someone had just put it up and clear coated it and behind it was parked a car and a big older truck. I remember thinking that the fence was kind of out of place; it was only a single section in the middle of the woods. And the truck was old but looked absolutely new and it was a shade of teal. I don’t remember a thing about the car except that it was facing the fence. I felt I should not be there, that I was trespassing. Absolutely nothing else was around or felt familiar to me. I looked behind me, down the roadway and it just seemed to continue on and on with no clue as to what could be at the end. When I turned to look the other way, it was as if I was standing in the middle of a cloud and I don’t recall seeing the fence or vehicles anymore. Everything to the sides of the path were misty, foggy, but in a beautiful, sparkling way. I could no longer see anything except for the path ahead of me. I was almost terrified; it was as if the 3 dogs were statues that were frozen in their places. I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks.
At the end of this part of the path, beyond the mist, was brilliant sunlight. It was like seeing the light at the end of a tunnel and it was directed only at that opening. Of their own accord, my feet starting taking me down the path and in the direction of the light. I was so beyond scared because I didn’t know where I was or where I was going to be when I arrived at the end of this path. I don’t know if I had any conscious thoughts at this time, I was too enthralled with everything around me. It was silent, no birds singing, yet it wasn’t like being in a vacuum that is devoid of sound.
I kept walking but I could not feel my feet connecting with the ground or as if the ground were cushioned. And I felt that I could do nothing else but walk to that light, if I were to try to alter my course, I wouldn’t be able to. If I was asked to describe the length of the path or how long it took to walk down it, I wouldn’t be able to tell you, I have no concept of either.
When I came to the end of the path I hesitated because such a feeling of dread had come over me. I was sure that the next step I took would be my last one on this earth and that I was being given time to absorb that fact. I walked out of the woods and into a clearing, into the sunlight. I too was frozen, not with fear, but with a feeling of weightlessness. I don’t know how long I stood there or how to describe all the feelings and thoughts that were passing through me at an indescribable speed. All I know is I finally became aware of being physically there and looked around to see if I could figure out where I was. And when I did realize where I was I could not believe it or understand how I had gotten there because it was not the direction I had taken.
I turned left again and walked back in the direction I had been headed in the first place, only this time along the power lines roadway not through the woods, I walked a very long way during which time I passed my original starting place. When I passed that spot I tried not to look into that area, I felt as if I should tiptoe quietly past. It was at this time I became aware that the dogs were with me again, running in the grasses to either side of the roadway. So I called them and we continued on. I must admit I was pretty shaken up and apprehensive of every step I took. I picked up the stroller I had left on the path and pushed it back to our campsite.
After a while I tried to explain what had happened to me but I couldn’t do it, could not find any words to make it believable. All I could come up with is that I ended up in the wrong place, which my fellow campers found pretty unbelievable. I almost wish I could have walked away with some kind of marking snow-white hair or something, like Mosses did when he came off the mountain, something dramatic so my words would be believable.
I have calmly tried to absorb this experience, sort out the details but have come to very few conclusions. I believe with all my heart that the path behind me represented the life that I have lived already, that’s why I could not go back down that path, why I could not really see anything but a darkened roadway. And the pathway before me is the life I have remaining and the light beyond it. At first when this occurred to me I thought about the length of the path before me and that it wasn’t all that long compared to the path behind me. I found that rather disturbing. But there is no way for me to compare the length of the path with the years I have left in this lifetime, my hope is perhaps every step represented a year, for it did not seem like a short walk.
I also wondered about what was to the sides of me because I could not see anyway to stray from the path; there were no other branches off from it. I had the feeling I was not alone yet I could not see anyone with me or around me, not even the dogs. And even thought it was silent I could hear the waves of air enclosed in the mist, could hear my own breathing and I’m pretty sure my own heartbeat. It was as if the air glistened.
When I reached the end of the path I feel I was moving more slowly to take the final steps into the light. And it wasn’t just normal sunlight, it was a brilliant light that didn’t hurt or blind your eyes. The end of the path was the scariest part of all because I just know there was a decision being made there. I wish I could recall the information that was being directed to me, but I can’t.
These are my initial impressions...all I know for sure is this was the most impossible and incredible experience, and it has changed my life, the way I mentally and physically feel. I want to cry every time I think about it.