Hawk Finds That Not All Distractions Are Bad Things

For several weeks, I followed Deer from a respectful distance as she parted the vegetation, revealing a narrow path…my path. We ambled across the field of green grasses and golden flowers until we reached the edge of a wood. Deer paused to graze the dry twigs of a small, leafless tree. I pulled my donkey to a stop and stared at the forest in confusion. It seemed to be winter in there—the bare trees creaked and groaned in a slight breeze, which stirred the heavy gathering of dry, brown leaves on the forest floor.

I twisted around and peered past my donkey’s rump. The green and gold of the field still shimmered under a warm, summer sun. How odd. “Deer,” I said as I turned back toward the strange, dead wood, “why…” I sucked in my breath and my question. Deer was gone. Oh, no! I shouldn’t have taken my eyes off her. In a panic, I kicked my donkey forward to the tree Deer had been grazing. To my amazement, I found a perfect arch nibbled through its lowest branches. If I leaned out over my donkey’s neck just a bit, I’d fit easily through. But, I couldn’t see a path past the little tree. What if this isn’t the way for me? What if I get distracted and lost? My donkey tossed her head impatiently as I spiraled down into indecision. Maybe I should gather a bit more information and think things through before just plunging in. I could skirt the woods for a while, get the lay of the land from out here…

With a snort and a lurch, my donkey pushed forward through the arch. I ducked down just in time to slip unscathed past the tree. When I lifted my head, I was inside the wood and what I saw there caused me to pull my donkey to an abrupt stop. The layer of dead leaves on the forest floor was alive with movement. I sat watching with my jaw hanging slack as bits of green pushed up, lifting the leaves and shoving them aside. Within minutes, the carpet of dead leaves disappeared entirely under a rich, new carpet of fresh green.

My donkey took a deliberate step forward. Where her hoof landed, a burst of pink and sky blue flowers emerged, swept forward over the blanket of green, and then parted to reveal a wide, well-traveled path of crushed stone traversed at intervals by knobby, brown tree roots.

“Many others have walked this path before me,” I said aloud to the wood. “There’s nothing unique here. I’m wasting time.” I shifted my weight to the left and attempted to guide my donkey back around to the portal through which we’d come. In defiance, she took another step forward. The ground shuddered slightly as spikes of deep purple flowers shot up on either side of the path. Her next step brought a wave of white that swept forward to the edge of the horizon like foam upon the ocean. Waves of loose lavender, and then pink, flowers followed.

I twisted around and peered back over my shoulder through the small opening in the branches. “I really should be chasing a path through the green and the gold. I really should stay focused.” My vision softened and the tall grasses became tightly rolled dollar bills topped with little piles of gold coins.

The chatter of a scolding wren came from somewhere down the flowered path to interrupt my daydream. I turned back to the wood. “I really should stay focused on breaking my own unique trail, but something here seems to be calling me.” I nudged my donkey. With a shake of her head and a strong exhale of breath, she stepped forward on the wooded path. A gentle breeze stirred the carpet of flowers, which now appeared to be joyously tossing their bright heads. I smiled and relaxed. “Nothing can be wrong, I guess, with a short side trip down a joyous path of flowers.”


A Small Gift for You

I created a sweet PDF of the first 30 pages of Giving Voice to Dawn that you can download for free. It includes two poems, a bunch of illustrations, intros to the main characters, and the complete Parable of Pamela the Donkey—A Story of Life Purpose Stuck at the Bottom of a Hole, so really is a gift and not just a teaser that leaves you completely up in the air. Just click and read. → Click Here to Download Your Free Sample of "Giving Voice to Dawn" (721 downloads)

Linda Gribko is an author, artist, and photographer living in Morgantown, West Virginia. She's known for her wildflower photography and the mandalas that she creates from her nature photos. Her quirky first novel, "Giving Voice to Dawn", was published in November 2016. It's the magical romp of a woman plucked by the Universe from the cubicles of Corporate America and dropped into the crease between "this world and that" where Spirit Animals carry messages, disembodied voices spout wisdom, and you never know who might show up to walk you back home.

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