I’ve lived in Vermont for over 30 years now on a wooded 14-acre property, adjacent to another 1000 acres that our neighbors kindly let us use. It’s easy for me to get outside and enjoy this luxury and I know some places in the woods like the back of my hand. Though we have never cut any walking trails, I often follow the same ‘path’ through the rocky terrain, passing familiar branches and rock that tell me I am going the ‘right’ way.
Recently, I shook it up by going left instead of right when I left the house on my meander. It was surprising how different the woods looked to after such a simple change. Normally, I just know where to go here, here, and here to make my way back home. This time, I had to think about where I was and which way would take me back to the house. I was in old familiar territory but it was different.
As we start a new year forced to stay home more than we like because of COVID, it’s easy to feel stuck in a rut and bored with the familiar world around you. Yet only a small change, like walking left instead of right when you head out the door, can change your perspective. So I encourage you to shake it up – take a different path, change the time of day when you take your usual walk, track a small creature in the snow. You might be surprised to see what’s been out there all along, right in your backyard, waiting for you to notice.