Guest Post by Author Mark Venturini
During a pleasantly warm Saturday in early November, my wife Kathy and I decided we had enough cabin fever and decided on a day-hike on my favorite section of the Laurel Highlands Trail (LHT). Nothing much really, roughly two miles out to the Middle Fork overlook, eat some lunch, revel in the scenery a bit, and head back.
We hit the trail early afternoon with Bella, the wonder dog, leading the way without a leash, her tail happily beating the air . . .
Now, hikers will tell you that trails are marked with blazes, accompanied many times (but not always) with mileposts. In Pennsylvania, a blaze is typically a rectangle of paint on trees, posts, and rocks. While the Appalachian Trail uses white blazes to mark the main trail, the Laurel Highlands Trail uses yellow.
Bella amazed me immediately as she led the way. Remember, I didn’t have her on a leash. She had no concept of blazes yet she followed the trail instinctively. You have to understand that the LHT is not a crushed stone bike trail, but follows the ridge-line through thick forest and grassy fields. To my human eye, many parts of the trail are indistinguishable from the surrounding forest floor. I had to keep alert to make sure I found the next blaze. Not Bella, she followed the trail, left, right, up, and down without hesitation or a single pause in her wagging tail.
With 2014 upon us, I find myself thinking back to Bella and our day-hike. As a professing Christian, I believe the Lord orders our steps. In this new year, I long to see the path before me as clearly as Bella did on the LHT. There are so many distractions in my life, so much going on. I need to step back before plunging ahead. I need to pray (not just lip service), but diligently pray to follow the path God has laid out for me. The thought of losing my way and ending up in some swampland is a yucky one. :-)
|Bella, the wonder dog|