Trails

Show me a path like this and I would ponder endlessly where the next bend will go. Will there be an abandoned manor somewhere? Is there a lovely patch of meadow to lie further along the road? Will I stumble into a fairy ring (is there even a fairy ring in this country) (I think I’m reading too much vintage mystery novels?

Solitary walks end up in a little adventure. Following a trail always leads somewhere. One time, traipsing the countryside on a visit to my grandmother’s place in Ilocos Norte ended up with me finding a stream flanked by tall overgrown grasses, getting passed by a carabao held by a young boy who greeted me and being welcomed to a neighbor’s home holding a birthday party for an old matriarch. I went home under the dim dusk with a plate of delicacies and a huge bowl of arroz caldo while my grandma wondered at my lateness.

the secret of roan inish

Often I would long for trails disappearing into the woods, sloping hillsides carpeted with flowers or standing on a plateau embracing the world (like Liz in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice). I might guess the reason I am a sucker for it is that I spent my growing years in the flat lands, the endless roll of rice fields. It has its bucolic charm but apart from a solitary tree or a cluster of a few, the view from our country house stretched straight as far as the eye can see. There’s not much woods or slopes to get lost to, no dark forest and craggy mountains for contrast.

Sometimes, the roads lead to places we don’t want to go. What a metaphor it is, too. The romanticism of walking alone is faced with certain realities, whether in the country or city, to dim the thought. There must be at least a conscious thought as well as sensible awareness. But I hope we shan’t rule out the curiosity. On these days, when we often glue ourselves to the web, just stand up and walk off, set your eyes on the horizon. Nothing could trump up the real landscape and the real things to discover on the way against a merely digital photograph.

 {photos. unknown // still from The Secret of Roan Inish}

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