Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I think it's awesome we all have choice and agency. on the day I took this photo, I had chosen to wander. along with the sunny street pictured, I happened across a lively gelato festival and an olive tree symbolizing renewal. other journeys have been less spontaneous, but each one was special. each one is mine. someone recently reminded me: "our collection of experiences make us who we are at this moment". even though I cannot choose what I will encounter, I can choose my response; our choices directly contribute to the impact we have on the world.
during high school, I had the option to continue with something that was possible, but would have taken all of my energy. the opportunity would have meant unpredictable demands on me as the years went by. I was required to reflect on what paths I would be abandoning if I accepted, where I wanted to dedicate my time, and if it was my dream or someone else's. I decided not to invest my energy there and instead chose to develop further in areas I felt were worthwhile.
the opportunities and experiences I have had made me who I am today. some were meandering paths where I stumbled upon lovely treasures, while other journeys were more planned out. in those moments when the roads diverge in drastically different ways, I am careful to remember to pursue my own dreams, not someone else's.
the skis pictured were, until very recently, with their original owner, my dad. when my grandmother gifted them to him years ago, none of us expected they would one day end up in a city on the Canadian Prairies. I had turned down my dad's offers to send them my way, citing practicality. then last year, I learned accepting his offer was more practical and that my heart deeply wanted it; new skis, while more expensive, also lacked any memories of shared skiing moments. nostalgia won out.
as a kid, my grandmother's collection "down cellar" of winter equipment seemed magical - an endless variety of aids for adventures on ice or snow - as long as you fit into the sizes available. my adventures on frozen shallow ponds were fun, but ice skating was never quite as special to me as cross country skiing, it lacked the togetherness. I stumbled into cross country skiing one day while visiting family; I was soon racing along with my cousin, savouring the ability to glide over the glittering snow.
the centre of skiing for me became adventures with my dad and grandmother. we would make a day of traversing snowy fields, trails, and forests. always classic. the arrival of these skis was bittersweet - one day skiing may offer togetherness once more, but our trio's skiing days are over. my grandmother wouldn't have wanted me to stop just because I miss her, she would have wanted me to continue skiing because there is love there; I love the activity and loved creating those memories with two special people. my grandmother left a legacy of togetherness, play, and love. though we don't know what our legacies will be, we must have courage to make our own marks.
If they say