The thing I love most about walking in the woods is getting off the beaten path, perhaps even getting lost. Happily, that’s just what I did this morning. My husband invited me to go for a walk at 7:30am. He had 45 minutes before heading off to work. Since I work from home, I decided on a longer walk, so I told him he’d likely be heading back on his own. Indeed, I kept walking on our familiar path and soon ventured off the path. As soon as the path was out of sight, I found a stick that helped me trek over uneven terrain. With enough layers on, warm boots and a snack, I welcomed the possibility of getting lost for a while. After finding the Ganaraska Trail and making a new friend, Pat, who told me stories about two places I must visit called Inglis Falls and Harrison Camp near Owen Sound, I left the trail again to climb a high ridge. It was narrow at the top and I felt my heart beating fast by the time I got there. I walked a few steps to a small patch with enough room to sit on the ground and stretch my legs. It was a perfect place to rest. My breath became quiet and my body sat still. I looked around and noticed the tops of trees meeting the sky to create a continuous cirlce at eye level while the valleys on either side of me descended 100 feet below. A plant was greening and pushing through a thick, cusioned seat of last Fall’s leaves on the ground near my body. When I was ready to move from this unknown location, the way home felt vague, but I proceeded using intuition, the sun’s location and my trusty walking stick. I descended the ridge and hiked up and down through gentler peaks and valleys until I found the familiar path leading to my house. Getting lost in the woods for a few hours in warm daylight is a way to practice contentment and lose the mind.

Once home, I experienced losing the mind through my mother’s eyes by watching a friend’s facebook post called the Grandma Story by Troy Turi. When Troy talked about his grandmother’s Alzheimers as enlightenment, I nodded in recognition because my mother’s Alzheimers is advancing.  She used to be reactive, but is much happier in her mindless state. I have always loved my mother’s laughter and it is strangely comforting to watch her laugh and joke with no ability to recall unpleasant memories. She is a constant reminder for me to practice losing the mind.