The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

On The (This Isn’t A) Road

Trying to get back to the chapel, I find a sign that points vaguely at two different roads. Perhaps it’s Robert Frost’s eyebrow-raise that points me to the red rocky one.

I go down a hill and start to cross a path of stones, but they don’t fit together, each step sways below me.

After about ten careful paces, with a quarter of a mile still to cross, I realize I am not on anything that could resemble a road. It is a rock pile and that is that. The stack of stones was set there perhaps for some purpose, but not for crossing. My foot slides between two hard places and I get frustrated with myself. This could get treacherous. And it feels hot all of a sudden. And I am probably trespassing. Also, there are probably snakes.

Trespassing AND snakes.

So I break into a run. I sprint to reach the end of the long stretch of wobbling rocks. I keep laughing at myself as I rush, tumbling forward without grace, hopefully unseen.

I remember a day from growing up. As a child in a household of seven, we had a bag full of unmatched socks in the laundry room. They waited in vain for a companion to be unearthed. One winter, after a snowfall, I put on several layers of random unpaired socks and ran across the snow without shoes. I wanted to see what it was like to race against the elements. I wanted to see how far I could get before I felt the cold.

This is also a tendency of mine–to wish to run when I should walk, to grow impatient as life is revealed to me, to insist I must speak the language when I’ve only begun to learn it, to want to cross the threshold and evade notice. To hike the two pilgrimage hills where the stones are slick and sharp, where the tourists walk devoutly, where the path is rugged but clear. Then to seek a different, absurd, unoccupied path and decide that this is the one I must take.

–Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.


This isn't the "road" I mention. I ran too fast to get a picture of it. :)

This isn’t the “road” I mention. I ran too fast to get a picture of it. πŸ™‚

14 comments on “On The (This Isn’t A) Road

  1. Christopher S. Malone
    March 5, 2014

    I absolutely adore that last paragraph. Keep running, Paige.

  2. heavenhappens
    March 5, 2014

    Marvellous! Your zest for life and sense of adventure hurtles through this post. Did you go to Medjugore? I often wondered what it was like as I read so much about the miracles there.

    • Thank you! Yes, I did go there two different times. I never stayed very long and I didn’t go on a formal pilgrimage, but I did enjoy seeing how people were so open in their faith and prayers. I liked that very much.

      I went to Confession with a wonderful priest who was visiting there from Virginia. We kept laughing so hard I worried that people might not want to see him. He was great!

      I really have enjoyed my time in Bosnia and Croatia, so they are well worth a journey, even if the miracles are on a smaller, more human scale. πŸ™‚


  3. oldageisnotforsissies54
    March 5, 2014

    So you didn’t run into the Illusive Bosnian Jumping Snake or a land mine? πŸ˜‰

  4. Sarah E.
    March 5, 2014

    Just found your blog, and fell in love! I literally cannot wait to read all your stories of a like-minded traveler. I too found immense beauty, humor, and compassion in strangers in my 6 week tour of Eastern Europe. Cheers!

    • Thanks so much! πŸ™‚ I’m glad to meet you too. I always like to hear about travels that teach us about the good in others (and ourselves!). I look forward to catching up with yours as well.
      Nice to meet you, Sarah!

  5. Maccabros
    March 5, 2014

    Beautiful Landscape and pictures – a gentleman would walk but never run… πŸ™‚

    Liebe Grüße,


  6. hughcurtler
    March 6, 2014

    I can’t imagine running on the road in your picture! Great post.

  7. Robert M. Weiss
    March 6, 2014

    I can identify, because my calculus professor said: “You want to fly before you can walk!” in his Transylvanian accent.

  8. Aian Ramos
    March 6, 2014

    Oooh, that’s the kind of road I’d love to try!!! I’m up for it but I can’t help but feel butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it, lol!

  9. mithriluna
    March 10, 2014

    I love the story and the images that go with them.

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This entry was posted on March 5, 2014 by in Europe, Happiness, Travel, Writing and tagged , , , , .

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