I am just now finding my way home,
After wandering the woods,
In circles,
And spirals,
And patterns like the EKG
From a massive heart attack.

I’ve been lost for centuries…
Or at least hours.

I followed a red-haired woman
Into a copse of  birch trees.
I’m not even sure why…
She just looked like she knew where she was going,
And I didn’t,
So I tagged along,

After five hundred miles…or five,
She let out a thorny laugh,
Then leapt over a thorny hedge,
Like a flirtatious fox,
And disappeared.
I knew there was no catching up,
And I really didn’t want to;
The conversation thus far
Had been pretty one-sided.

I continued on alone,
Until I reached a fork in the forest.

There was a path,
Just off to the right,
Well-worn with footfall,
Shafts of gilded sunlight,
Illuminating the way,
And birds singing,
With a welcoming warble.
The kind of trail
Made for skipping,
And daydreaming,
And flower picking,
And finding oneself.

But, remembering that poem,
I chose the other path,
The one to the far left,
The one seldom traversed.

And there, I stayed lost,
Amidst the hostile foliage
And botanical chaos.
Finally, emerging
Bejeweled in insect bites,
As red as rubies.
Itching, even on the inside,
From encounters with every species
Of poisonous plants,
Blistered, broken,
Barely alive to tell the tale.

But wiser…
Having learned a singular life lesson:
Sometimes the road less traveled
Is that for a reason
And should remain so.