Towpath Therapy


Ever have one of those days when you see a bend in the road ahead and you start wondering if you’re really on the right path after all?

Today was one of those days for me. Without sharing details (that are not mine to tell at this point), I came up to an all-too-familiar bend in the road and, just like the other times I’ve been in the same spot, I started wondering: Am I really doing the right thing? What do I do if this happens? Is it time to start all over again?

There’s never a simple, straightforward, immediate answer to that line of questioning. It takes time to unravel, to work itself out, to make room for other possibilities. I know this. But since I am not always a calm, patient person who is able to brush these things off, I let my mind gnaw away at the problem, trying to find a solution right now.

Fortunately, I also try to be a sensible person, and I know this sort of worrying is unproductive and best countered with an extra dose of Vitamin N. So I called up my hiking buddy and drove to the little town of Clinton so that we could hike a small section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath (for the SMP Spree).

The forecast for the rest of the week is for cooler temps, but we enjoyed a sunny afternoon in the 70s out on the quiet trail, soaking up the rays alternated with the shade of the trees overhanging the towpath. My friend listened to my ramblings about the situation, offered no advice (a remarkable thing!), and gave me the silent support I needed to get the worries off my back and enjoy the hike.

I could tell you about the things we saw on the hike — the three different old stone locks, the turtles sunning on logs in the canal, the garter snake that skittered off the path ahead of us, the changing colors of the leaves, the simple wooden and rail bridges that forded the water. But really, for today, it wasn’t about the sights, though I certainly appreciated seeing and hearing the world around me. It was about getting outside and getting out of myself for a little while.

We rounded out the adventure with dinner at one of my favorite Thai restaurants (including a shared ice cream sundae for dessert!) and a slow meandering down back roads, following the sunset home.

And what will I do about that bend in the road?

I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.



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