Paths not taken (Richmond Park)

The cold sun cheers the soul and the hard ground make good terrain for running, so I was off for a long and steady run round Richmond Park yesterday, with the jackdaws and rooks and jays all busy, and many people walking and chatting, and the occasional too fast cyclist on the Tamsin Trail, and all those wonderful tracks, it felt like thousands of them, made by man and deer, scooting off among the long tufty grass and the dead bracken and bog.

And all those quiet places too, where the tracks take the deer and rarely take us humans, though mad runners like the wilder ways.

Several times I stopped and wondered which path to take, each time a path not taken, and in Robert Frost’s words, that could have made all the difference. Each turn dictates all later turns, and along each path different thoughts, and different times for getting back to the carpark, and getting back home – and for lunch. And every other junction, another decision, and in one, and in every, instant, your life can – and will – change. Avoid any notions of permanence! We are all creatures of serendipity. So keep your mind empty – something I’m very bad at doing (one reason why I meditate!) – let the dao take you where it will, and best to ride it, and not seek to break the flow.

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