Without knowing why, I started building paths in the yard.
We’ve been on this property for six years, digging, clearing, planting. This spring, among the flowers, I saw path possibilities. Tiny ones.
Path length doesn’t matter. It’s a way in and a way out, leading to a place ahead.
And to a place inside yourself.
Paths require rocks. That first year here, I bought sandstone from a farmhouse being torn down. I couldn’t explain why I needed them, but I knew I did.
Just like my parents.
A creek ran behind my childhood home, a new brick ranch with an empty yard. My parents planted trees and shrubs, created gardens, and took a wheelbarrow to the creek to gather rocks for bordering their flowers and vegetables. I walked those stones in my small bare feet, imagining tales of castles and queens.
A path always has a story.
So that’s why I’d needed those farmhouse rocks.
For my first attempt here, I carved the ground cover into swirls, threading a way through the day lilies to the rabbit statue Maggie found long ago. As soon as we entered the garden store, she rushed toward it. Kneeling beside it, she stroked its head. Because his story called, her tiny toddler feet found the path.
When we moved again, we built a path through our backyard. She walked up and down those rocks, passing her rabbit. She played with water and sand hauled in buckets that she and her friends carried up and down the path. Surely there were stories.
At our next house, we set the Asian statue she named Lady Chang under a tree, secure among tulips and river rocks. Now surrounded by hostas, the statue has a path of her own again.
And Maggie is grown and gone, on a path offering a different story.
Now I see I’ve built these paths here for me. They mark leaving and returning.
We cleared the last wild space here recently. This new ground wants a tree and flowers and a path. Heaven knows, we still have rocks for traveling the distance to find the story.
Because a path always has one.