Paths are wonderful things but they usually lead to predictable destinations; by stepping off the trail, I have made some chance discoveries.
For instance, there is a grove of maples at the old school farm which provides year round pleasure for those who pass beneath it – brilliant flutters of yellow leaves in the fall, drooping canopies of white in the winter, an intense tunnel of green in the spring and welcome banks of shade in the summer. The other day, though, I clambered away from the road and ventured into the trees and here was a whole new world with leaves matting the ground and ruffling the canopy above.
On the way to Whistler, this spring, I convinced my husband to pull over just before the two lane entering the Cheakamus canyon and there beside the busy highway was a moss covered rock garden that I’ve only ever experienced as a blur.
At Brohm lake, the alders picket fence the sides of the road and tick past methodically when you are driving, but step into their midst and they soar above and frame surprising views.
Bordering Oxbow lake, there is a cedalder tree, or so I’ve named it-just to the side of the trail. It blends in with the other trees until you discover it by stepping into the tall grass. These two trees are so intertwined that they almost seem to share the same trunk.
Behind our house there are many spots that make it easy to swing off a route and during a recent downpour, I found myself at the bottom of an old river channel, contemplating the age of the trees that had grown since the water last flowed there.
It’s certainly not an original concept to say that straying off the beaten path can lead to new discoveries but actually making the time to experience those revelations can be well worth it.