Getting Lost in the Maze

Sometimes in life, things can get a bit overwhelming and you just need to pack up and leave for a while. Sometimes, the place you need to be is with a good friend.

I’ve had an incredibly chaotic few  months, and I knew that the fall was going to be even busier, so I decided that I needed to get away from my life for a few days, recharge, and reconnect.  I spent a long weekend in Vermont with one of my oldest friends, Heather.  It’s funny to me that we’ve remained friends as long as we have.  Through school, growing up, moving apart, and living different lives, I can still say that there is no one on this earth that I feel more comfortable around.  She just gets me.  She knows me like that back of her hand, and she can call me out on all my garbage in a way no one else can.  I let her.  In fact, I expect it of her.  The deal is of course, I can do the same with her.  Its a relief to have someone like that in your life.

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We planned a weekend of not really doing too much.  Mostly we just spent time with each other.  We saw a movie, got a Frosty at Wendy’s (it’s kinda our thing), did a little antique store browsing, but we also went to a corn maze.  This wasn’t any regular corn maze though.  This was THE corn maze.  The mother of all corn mazes.  This was “The Great Vermont Corn Maze.”  It’s the larges in New England.  It’s HUGE!

How big is it? It’s acres huge.  It’s so big they recommend that you don’t set out to even start after 1:00pm and you should expect it to take 2-6 hours to complete.  Every year the maze has a different design, but the trick, of course, is that you can’t figure it out while one the ground.  It’s only visible from the air, and from the pictures that you see once you exit.

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We we went in cocky and ready to beat the clock.  Immediately upon starting though, we were faced with a choice of four pathways to follow.  We took our chances, selected one at random, and moved in.  We walked, and we walked, and walked. We turned right.  We turned left.  We double backed.  We ran into dead ends.  We went through tunnels and over bridges, and at one point even got onto a boat.  Just to rub in how lost you can become, at one point there is a clearing on top of hill that will give a slight vantage point over the maze, but of course there were numerous trails that ventured off of the hilltop.  It can be insanity producing.  At one point we eagerly accepted a hint from one of the staff members, and we promptly screwed it up, and ended up getting even more lost.

As we walked, we spent the afternoon talking and catching up, and I was reminded of how much I loved and missed seeing my friend on a regular basis, but the whole experience reminded me life.  We all start out on a path that we hope is the correct one, and that it will be the one that takes us to the finish line with as few turns and twists as possible.  It rarely turns out to be as easy as we think it’s going to be, and actually  it’s usually much, much more frustrating.  There are risks, of course.  We back track, and lose our way.  We wander aimlessly, sometimes for prolonged periods of time.  We can be proactive and make decisions with a purpose and intent.  Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  In the end, no one really knows what the end of the journey will look like.  The only thing you can really hope for is to have someone with you along the way that can provide you with support when you need it, a challenge when it’s warranted, and a laugh when it’s least expected.

For the longest time, I always looked at my life as though I was socially, somehow doing something wrong.  I know people who seemed to constantly be surrounded by people.  I thought those were friends, and that because I wasn’t, I was doing something wrong, or maybe that there was something wrong with me.  As I’ve aged though, I’ve come to realize that that isn’t who I am or really what I want.  I want a friend who truly knows me, and is loyal to me, and will stand by me.  I want a friend I can be completely honest with, and who will be completely honest with me. I want a friend who will get blindly lost in a corn maze with me on a blazing hot Saturday afternoon in August. I’ve come to see that I’m fortunate in that I have a handful of friends in my life who I connect to on this level.  Most of my friends, I’ve known for decades, and I’m very cautious as to who I invite to move from “acquaintance” to “friend” now.  I’ve learned that quality beats out quantity every single time.  Heather is one of these people in my life, but she isn’t alone, though.  James, Neill, Keith, Ben, Michelle, Robin, Leslie.  These are more than just names to me.  They are my family both by blood and by choice.

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Ultimately, we finished the maze.  Nearly four hours after we started.  We were dusty, and wet with sweat, but we finished.  We did it together and we weren’t screaming at each other like so many other people there who were just as lost as were.  I came out of it feeling really grounded, present.  It wasn’t the maze that did that, or the travel.  It was being in the presence of a friend.

tolandseal

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