If my previous post lead you to believe that success is always at the end of a journey, I must hasten to warn you that it is not.
As you may recall, my fellow Stetson students and I arrived in Freiburg and stayed in a hostel while we waited for our dorm to open for the semester. Our first night there, I tripped down the stairs and sprained my ankle. Although I wasn’t seriously injured, I had to be careful the following week how I put pressure on my foot.
With a full night of sleep and morning-person superpowers, I woke up just after dawn on the third day of our stay in Freiburg. Matt and Sarah were still asleep, and after years of sleep-over experience, I knew they would be for many more hours. The world outside lifted a finger of chirping birds and beckoned.
Fully bundled, I trudged outside and up a steep flight of steps. The sudden hints of green were like the first full breath you take after being asleep. It seemed as though spring had arrived overnight.
My entire time in Kandern, the trees had been brown and leafless. I honestly was a little disappointed, since I had heard so much about the Black Forest, and it seemed much drabber than I had expected. But now, seeing the green buds on trees and flowers on vines, I realized I was completely silly. If I had a dog, I would have informed him that we weren’t in Florida any more. Here was a strange world with dramatic seasons. Usually people who move to Florida say that they miss the fall colors. I had no idea that Florida just couldn’t capture spring colors, either.
My ankle hurt a little bit, but if I walked on it correctly it wasn’t a problem. Exhilarated with the new world to discover, I decided to be more adventurous. The main dirt path continued in front of me, but a narrower, grassier path curved up. I could hear people nearby, but not in the direction of the path. Robert Frost’s oft-quoted poem, “The Road Not Taken,” captured my thoughts exactly: the second path had “perhaps the better claim/ Because it was grassy and wanted wear.” Though the trail was steep at times, I once again decided to not turn around until I found something exciting.
Stubborn, I pushed my way up, sometimes grabbing saplings for leverage. Finally, I reached a rock face, and the path disappeared. I was disappointed. After my experience in Kandern with the castle, I expected every path to have something interesting at the end. I wanted the less-traveled paths to yield secrets that only the brave few could share. But here I was on the steep slope of a hill; I would have looked ridiculous if there was anyone around.
Finally, I gave up, partially because I didn’t want to try anything risky alone and with my ankle weakened. I made my way back down. At the steepest parts I had to sit on the ground and inch, careful not to slip on loose stones. I was a little worried and mainly embarrassed. “Geez, Jenn,” I muttered, “sometimes roads are less-traveled for a reason.”