“When the path reveals itself, follow it” is a quote from Cheryl Strayed’s book of quotes Brave Enough. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for a good quote, but this one resonated with me. Although the words first hit me as revelatory, I realize that following paths is exactly what I’ve been doing my entire life, and it’s been a beautiful, difficult, messy, grand journey. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
If you have not read Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, you’re missing out. It is about love, loss, the choices we make, and never giving up. If you decide to give these books a look, use the links above and Amazon will send me a little something (you don’t pay more; Amazon just shares with me). But, I’m not here to sell books, now am I?
My story is about following a path.
Over the July 4th holiday weekend, I took a trip to Georgia to visit friends I had not seen in a few years. Of course my sweet Grace came along with me–my copilot, my bubby. She is my heart and gets a ride-along every time it’s logistically feasible. I didn’t have an agenda or any expectations other than to spend time with friends, relax, and enjoy some food and drink.
This photo is from a previous trip and in the previous Altima. Not much has changed other than the weather and the car.
And relax is exactly what we did, my visit perfect right there. But, someone mentioned Jekyll Island to me. I was staying on St. Simons Island and was not familiar with JI, and as the conversation went on, it was disclosed (the world already knows so I’ll share in my signature late-to-the-party fashion) that a scene from The Walking Dead was filmed at Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island. Scream!
I had no choice but to go the very next day. I mean, the path revealed itself, right? So off we (me and Little Miss) went to Jekyll Island. I stopped at the visitor center to be sure paws were allowed on the beach, grabbed a map, and we tootled down the road in the Altima, nose prints and all.
Disclosure: I saw only a small portion, a sliver, of Driftwood Beach. Grace does not handle heat well and about a minute into taking photos, she was done. Flopped herself on the ground and refused to move. I gave plenty of water and even poured some on her to keep her cool, but she was full-on protesting. We returned two days later in the morning when it was not so hot, but she was no more impressed and again asserted her right to a peaceful sit-in. I had the sense to access the beach at a different point the second day, so I got to see more of the beach even though the pupper wasn’t having it.
Just from the slice I saw of Driftwood Beach, I know I’ll be back. It’s a beauty I can’t explain. Goldenisles.com attempts by saying “Driftwood beach will amaze you with the beautiful driftwood and trees that resemble a tree graveyard.” Nothing like the words “tree graveyard” to convey beauty, right? But that’s exactly what it looks like and it is beautiful!
The short of it is that erosion has caused the trees to die, topple over, and become driftwood. Driftwood Beach is a photographer’s dream, and it is a popular site for weddings in addition to everyday beachy things people do.
I am so taken with this beach that it is on my very short list of places I would visit again and again. And I need to get back there to see the rest of Jekyll Island with its Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Gatorology 101 class, eco-programs, festivals (including the Shrimp & Grits Festival), five beaches, historic sites, and beach village with shopping and dining.
But back to the path. The path revealed itself and I followed it. I followed it to reconnect with friends, to meet new people, to see Grace be a dog which very seldom happens (she had 6 or 7 doggie playmates at a party we attended), to discover a corner of the world that stole my heart.
These paths are everywhere in our lives, and for me it’s about seeing them and sometimes saying yes. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that a path is just that. If you start down a road that feels wrong, hang a left, or a right, or do a U-ey and find another. What are we but a compilation of our experiences? The paths we have traveled, whether by choice or otherwise, are what make us who we are.
Not every path is easy, nor is every path beautiful, but if you never walk them, how will you know? You might miss the beach of dead trees that is one of the most breathtaking sites to behold.
Cheers to your path,