Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The path runs along logging roads long overgrown with striped maple and tangled briar boughs. It crosses a stone wall and follows it for a while into a dense stand of hemlock cut here and there by angled shafts of light. A puff of wind roused by the rising sun sighs through the upper branches and sways them softly as it passes. We cross the wall again and begin to climb steadily into a glade of fern and straight silver beech. The path is a canyon through the spreading ferns brushing us with dewy green fingers.
A second path leading through the dense green forest floor causes us to stop. We unfold the map and trace our progress toward the summit measuring the miles to go with thumb and forefinger. Although it is faint, we pick our way along the second path expecting to find a clear spring or rocky headland at its end.
But we are disappointed as the trail leads to a small ball of toilet paper. And we are troubled that others will follow our boots and still more will follow again to validate this path to nowhere.