Last week, I attended meetings at Salt Fork State Park in eastern Ohio. Whenever I walked outside, it didn’t take long before I was being watched by the deer. They loitered near the lodge possibly because of the no-hunting policies but more likely because of the hope of snacks from generous guests.
On one occasion, I decided to play chicken with one of the onlookers. I pulled out my camera phone and walked toward a doe, snapping pictures every few feet to see how close I could get before she would run. She stood still until I crossed the path you see in a couple of the pictures. Though I’m not a good judge of distance, I’d say I was within a few dozen feet of her when I took the final picture in the collage–close enough to get a good portrait but not close enough to reach out and touch her. Then she bolted into the woods.
If I switched places with the deer, this short episode would make a good metaphor for the past few months (or dare I say years) of my life. The onlooker represents opportunities, but I (the deer) don’t know if the opportunities will pan out. So fear kicks in and I’m torn between running away or getting closer to what could be a real treat, a colossal disappointment, or a trap leading to end-game failure.
Though many of my options in life have walked away like bored children at a petting zoo, a few opportunities are constant and even edge closer. And while many days I feel I’m standing quite still and doing nothing, in reality, a three-sided war between my urge to run, my urge to stay put, and my urge to move closer simmers within me daily and even moment by moment.
The forest invites me to return to its anonymity and shelter. Yet something compels me to stay put. If the opportunity would just come to me, then I would know its true nature. It’s thrown me a few SunChips, but in its hand is something that looks and smells better. I don’t know what it is, and opportunity won’t toss it to me. We’ve stood here for a long while, and we’re at the final stage of the chicken war. The next steps are up to me.
Moving this blog to a more public address is a small inching toward the opportunity of being a writer–or if you will, a word jeweler–stringing words together on a screen or page to create small offerings of meaning and beauty. I’m uncertain if any of my creations will be anything more than baubles and trinkets, but if they bring a moment of delight or wonder or understanding to another, then it will have made the risk of moving a step closer worth it.