The Three Crossings

My mother has said on more than one occasion that there is nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about a dream they had.  I’m the exact opposite – I am a lover of symbolism and I believe our dreams serve to help us solve the problems we experience in our waking life.

I had a dream last night that I wanted to share because it played out like a parable and had an inspiring message.  If you are like my mom and hate dream-talk, you can go ahead and skip this one.

Deep in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, there was a small town where the tops of pine trees touched the clouds.  Throughout the year, hundreds of city-dwellers would take a days-long hike between their city and this little town.  The highlight of the hike was a giant gorge stretching over many miles – although it was less than 100 feet across, it was at least 1000 feet deep with whitewater rapids raging at the bottom.  It was both beautiful and terrifying all at once.  City-dwellers like myself had three options to cross the gorge to get to our little forest destination.

The first option was a trail I hiked long ago.  It was easily the most beautiful of the three, taking you through lush forests, green hills and wildflower-filled meadows.  When you approached the gorge from this route, there was a natural bridge that crossed the gorge.  The bridge was wide and the earth felt solid under your feet.  Buttercups and violets poked out from its sides.
I set out on my hike with the intention of taking this trail, however when I looked at my map I suddenly became aware of its drawbacks: through the first half of the hike, the trail system surrounding it resembled a honeycomb pattern with several tiny trails connecting and branching off of each other.  One could easily get lost attempting this route, never able to get to their destination nor able to return to their starting point.  Of all the hikers attempting the hike to the forest town on this day, no one opted for this trail and I would be on my own.  I opted to join a group of hikers to take the second option.

Hikers on the second trail took a path alongside a major road that turned and took you into the little town.  This route circumvented the gorge entirely, crossing just above its head.  At the crossing, you could barely get a glimpse of the gorge.  The benefit to this hike was the ease of the trail – as long as you stayed beside the road, you would never get lost.
As we walked along this route, I became bored.  The whole point of the hike was not to get to the destination, but to see all of the beautiful things no one can see by car.  The view was forgettable.  Along with a couple of other people from my group, we decided to change paths and take the third option.

The third option combined the other two trails – hikers would take the roadside trail part of the way, then take a separate path that crossed the gorge and connected up to the first option.  The only catch to this hike was a harrowing crossing at the gorge – the only option to cross was going over a partially-collapsed bridge that required a jump at the end to reach the other side of the gorge.  If you missed, you’d fall to your death into the rapids and rocks below.  Despite feelings of vertigo, I determined it was worth the risk.  I crawled and climbed over the damaged bridge as I crossed it, making my way to the segment where you had to jump.  From a distance the final jump looked scary and impossible, however when I actually made it to that point it looked easy.  Without even a running start, I took the jump and easily cleared the other side.  Grateful that I decided to take this route, I now understood the point of the hike, and enjoyed the beauty that lay ahead of me.

…Until a pack of bloodthirsty pink dodos chased me and another girl through a forest; I have no idea what that was about.

So here’s something to think about – what path do you take in life? Do you opt for the boring-but-easy or the dangerous and beautiful? Have you ever made the risky jump between those two paths in life?  And what’s the deal with the dodos? Share your thoughts and any amusing dodo interpretations below!