The Path

Sometimes when I walk in the woods, it’s as if the whole world opens up to greet me. Today, I crossed the barbwire fence to enter the forest above my house and made a prayer to the plants that I wanted to collect to make into flower essences. As soon as I did, I saw a set of three rocks that looked like a staircase waiting for me. When I got to the top, there was another stepping stone to cross a little creek. On the other side, the light came through the trees and made a path visible so that I wouldn’t step on any of the little plants peaking through the leaves. There were thousands of spring beauties for me to collect for my essences but I collected them carefully and made an offering when I finished.

I started on again but nothing was quite clear enough to make a distinct next step. I started anyway and then a huge wind came whipping up and I stopped, realizing that I had either gone the wrong way or I had missed something. I looked down right beside where I stopped and there were three of the first blooms of hepatica for the season. As soon as I spotted them, the wind calmed. Beside them was some bloodroot. I took their pictures and went on.

This time the path was clear: it was as if the plants had left just enough room for me to walk without stepping on any of them. They led me straight to a tree with a very unusual base that had one single spring beauty beside a rock. It was a beautiful display of God’s perfect garden.

I sat beside the tree and prayed. My dog came next to me and sighed out in peacefulness. In the calm, I could hear the voices of nature crying for all of us who fail to see the beauty that is around us and fail to trust that all is provided for us on this earth if we leave it in its original form, live simply, share and are kind to each other. Nature’s cry was very loud and the winds picked up again almost sending a shiver through me. We sobbed and shuddered together.

My prayer for this world is that we slow down enough to listen to our inner promptings while also paying attention to our surroundings and having great respect for everything on this great earth. When we do, we are not only shown the way, the path actually opens for us.


Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.