imageEver since I was a little girl growing up on a dirt road at the edge of the woods, I have loved footpaths. I love the curiosity of where they may lead and I love the proof that something was worth going to, again and again, wearing thin with love or labor or both. More than a two-track, which hold its own therapeutic magic of wandering, a footpath bears the spirit of seeking, unhurried in its scar like grooves in the rich black soil, sand or tall grass. I return, over and over, in all seasons, to those undulating trails of my childhood; to the orchard, behind the creek, and into the forest for solace and reverie. I breathe in the familiar smells and watch as trees grow tired, where new growth has emerged. As a young mama, i would pack up my little boy, the stroller, a snack and head out through the Old Indian Trail, winding its way up and around and through the bracken toward the dune and beyond it, Lake Michigan, or Old Baldy with its endless climbs and vistas, and each year since, witnessing Isaac growing taller, stronger and more confident to lead us further. At our home, a long stretch of grass leads out toward Isaacs fort, and now, between the clothesline and a couple of flower beds, worn down from trips to the chicken coop and the never-ending games of fetch our Moonshine requires. I close my eyes and see Isaac wobbling through the back yard, the tall grass and blackeyed-susans dancing in a summer breeze, tickling his brown shins, how I taught him the simple joy of forging your own quiet path to a secret hiding place, like my sisters & neighbors, Josh and Jimmy Rayner did on the farm up the road from the place my folks still homestead, now both in their 60’s.
Here in Playa Guiones, in Central America, on the Pacific Northwest coast of Costa Rica, each day I rise and meander through a jungle trail, linking our home in the outer boundaries of the village, into the arterial hub of commerce & tourism “Gringo Lane”. Most days I simply walk it to breath deep with the lush flora and fauna, and without fail, give a deep and affectionate hug to an enormous Guanacaste tree that feels to me like an elephant, and hugs back. My only wish is that this trail was longer– I prefer it to the dusty, rocky roads leading everywhere. It gives me space and time to think– as all paths seem to do for me. I am suspended in a mindset of the present moment; cautious steps over thirsty roots, stones, fallen branches. The rhythm of my breath matches my heel strike, worries, grief and tears released with exhalations, making room for inhaling deep into the center of myself, pausing here and there to gather beauty with my eyes and ears. Remembering the strength of my body, like trees themselves, holding steady in the wind, renewing myself with each rain, with each spring…





Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.

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