When you come upon two paths in the woods

Taken By Byron Brown

I walk through the woods alone. It’s peaceful here and thoughts slowly circulate in my mind. The birds sing and create a melody that I feel like I recognize for some reason. The wind dances to the tune. It sends my hair into tumbles. The trees moan with the weight of the wind. They’re not complaining, though. I’m certain the wind must feel great against the sturdy trunks.

As I get deeper in the woods I notice different animals. Deer perk up as they see me coming and whisk away in the cool morning air. Rabbits bound across the ground. Out of nowhere I get to a divergence in the natural path I’ve been following. Two distinct paths dissected by trees and shrubbery, surrounded on the outside by more trees and shrubbery. I freeze and ponder each.

The path on the left is overgrown. Twigs and leaves cover the grass and dirt. Menacing eyes peer out from the borders. I shudder and turn my attention to the path on the right. A clear, neat path full of green grass meets my gaze. Small creatures scurry to and fro on the earth. The trees hang over the path providing natural shade from the sun, which is peeking out from the horizon.

A fox emerges from between the paths. He is an exquisite creature. His dainty steps caress the soft earth. He seems to be smirking at me as he approaches.

“Hello, friend.”

“Hello,” I reply.

“You look lost.”

“Just trying to decide which path to take.”

“Aren’t we all?”

“I guess so,” I laugh. So he’s a philosopher.

“Why left?”

“Huh?”

“Why would you take the left path?”

I pause for a moment and look back to the path on the left. It has a corrosive quality. It looks ancient, and yet it is fresh at the same.

“It’s mysterious and an adventure is bound to come of it.”

“What else?”

“Hmm… Well, fewer people have taken it clearly. Which could be good or bad.”

“Why would that be good?”

“Because it could have value, but the fear of it makes people take the right.”

The fox grins. “You’re a real character.”

“Aren’t you going to ask me about the one on the right?”

“We both know about the one on the right,” His tone isserious. “It’s trodden on, but it’s beautiful. It catches the eye and appeals to the senses. There’s even natural shade.”

“You missed something. I don’t see menacing eyes or dancing shadows.”

“True. So, which is it going to be?”

“I don’t know.”

I’m looking back and forth now. Each seems to have a certain appeal.

“Where did you come from?” I’m thinking of his emergence from the center of the paths.

The fox sits in silence for a moment. “You know, no one’s ever asked for me that before.”

“Really?”

“People have a tendency to think in straight lines.”

“Or forks?” I tease.

“Where did I come from?”

“The center.” I’m staring down the middle of the paths now. It’s a dense strip, packed with trees, bushes, and all assortment of plants. Without hesitation, I walk past the fox and into the middle.