My God, it’s like I never saw this path before! How long have I lived here, a dozen years? And my wife for ten? But it’s never resonated as a symbol until now. Remembering the track my grandmother scuffed across the carpet in her thick old lady shoes, walking from the bathroom to her chair, it occurs to me that if I’ve worn that in the dirt at a shaggy-dog rental over Indian bones, it’s probably time to move. It’s certainly time for something!
The path leads around the corner of the kitchen to a cobbled-together platform feeder nailed to a two-by-six I propped up with rocks and roped to the base of an old trellis. At least three times a day, every day, I walk out the front door with a bucket of bird seed and a plastic scoop. When the ground freezes hard, I step out into single-digit mornings in my bathrobe before I’ve had my coffee, even in the snow, to give the birds a chance. They come straight out of nowhere then, emerging in ones and twos and threes from wherever they fluffed their feathers up to make it through the night. No shame here, I note. Just the path, reflecting something older and invisible.