I felt a strong sense of foreboding as I pedaled my bike to the beginning of the path through the woods one August evening a few years ago. Deeply shaded by the heavy growth of late summer and cutting through the trees at the edge of the industrial park, the rutted trail seemed lonely and dangerous. I had heard that it connects to Veterans Park–which is a great place to ride–but my trepidation won out. Instead of going forward, I slowed, circling the cul-de-sac a few times as I sized up the threat, and decided to turn around. The trail was too creepy and dark for my comfort.
A few days later, motivated by my interest in getting through to the park on the other side, I decided to go forward despite my fear, to trust that it would be safe and worthwhile. The trail did seem creepy, lined with coarse trees, poison ivy and an occasional pile of trash dumped just in the woods. However, it also let me ride into Veteran’s Park, which offers the cyclist a good flat piece of road, as well as some interesting trails along the water.
Today I ride down the gravel path regularly. It is bathed in light and shadow, in late summer the greenery arches over it, in winter bare branches stand starkly aside it, and sometimes there is a pile of trash just off of it. But now I find it not at all creepy or lonely, and I even traverse it after sundown.
That rough gravel gash through the woods provides an inroad from the industrial park to the recreational park and back again, allowing me to enjoy an extended ride through varied landscape. The route has not changed since my first attempt to ride it, when fear and foreboding kept me from going forward. The one thing that has changed is my view. It is amazing what opportunities can open up when one lets go of fear and sees things from a perspective of trust.