On our last day in the Boundary Waters, my good friend Doug and I decided to fish a small lake that had no trail leading to it.Since the lake was almost certainly seldom visited, we imagined it teeming with hungry Bass and Northern Pike.
Heading west from a nearby campsite, we pushed and weaved our way over, under, around and through dense underbrush, branches, downed trees, boulders and crevices till we got to a marshy swamp that signaled our proximity to the lake.After another quarter-mile of slogging, we arrived at relatively firm ground on lakeshore, then proceeded to bushwhack for another couple hours, as we fished up the shoreline (there was no sandy beach on this lake).
All that effort for one eight-inch perch Doug snagged on his first cast and released.It was totally worth it.
Our adventure reminds me of a challenge I face in relationship.Through years of repetition, I've etched in my brain well worn paths that do not serve me – old stories of loss and disappointment, gloomy predictions, well-worn protection strategies – familiar trails, leading to familiar places.
I need to bushwhack in my brain – head into wilderness, blaze new trails, risk the unknown.It's damn hard work, way harder than it looks on a map.But the going gets easier with each trip into new territory.New paths form.Old trails diminish from disuse.
Brain pathways are more malleable than we once believed. While paths are made by walking, they're begun by bushwhacking.