The landscape crew arrived a week ago to carve a path up the ridge to the flat rock-outcropping. For three days, dodging rain and chill, they cut and shored up a zig-zag trail. They had created many paths before, including steps, terraces, and walkways on our property, though I imagined the woodland presented unique challenges.

PathZigzagFriday morning dawned sunny, warm and dry. Our landscaper had emailed us that, given weather reports, they would finish the job today rather than wait until Monday. Another crew joined the first to lay woodchips along the path and fill river stone in the terrace.

FreyaPicnicTerraceLater in the day, Keith and I walked the new path with our dogs Heathcliff and Freya. The overlook provided a spectacular view into the ravine and beyond to the Blue Ridge Mountains. In our minds, we sketched a table with bench for end-of-the-day baguette and cheese picnics while watching the sun set through the trees.


Not all new pathways appear so quickly, and most are not traversed so comfortably. I think about babies, falling down many times while learning to walk. How well I remember my children’s lumps and bumps – my own, too.

One might argue that growth only occurs when we’re less comfortable. Either we, like children, want something enough to risk failure, or our status quo is no longer an option. We must move on and forge new paths.


This week, I’m flying to Grand Rapids to attend the Festival of Faith and Writing. It’s a new experience for me, and I must admit I’m both excited and nervous. Uneasy about traveling alone, knowing no one, following a new career path. I take comfort in this passage for Psalm 25:4-5.

Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.


PathSnowApril2018Later on Friday afternoon, Keith and I ate dinner outside on the dining deck. Roasted chicken, sweet potato, and Brussel sprouts. Then on Saturday, a wintery mix covered both deck and the new pathway. Today, it’s snow, and it’s snowing in Grand Rapids, too.

After the storm passes and the temperature rises, Heathcliff and I will walk the mountain road to pick up the mail. I can choose when to traverse that well-worn route. But as I travel this week, I’ll follow a new path. Whenever, however, wherever. Toward whoever and whatever God wishes to show, teach, and guide me.


What new path are you following?


  1. Luanne

    What a lovely new path! Have a wonderful time at the conference!

    • Carole Duff

      Thanks, Luanne! I’ll post about the conference next Monday. Hope to shake hands with Edwidge Danticat, Parker Palmer, Luci Shaw, and many others.

  2. Sarah Myers

    Thinking of you as you traverse your new path. Take care. Remain in Christ’s peace during this Eastertide.


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