Trail Markers

This past June my wife Susan and I took a trip to Ireland and Scotland. We first visited Dublin, a wonderful vibrant and warm city, and then on to Scotland. We began in Aberdeen, stayed in an amazing castle in the Speyside region with friends for a weekend and then made our way south to the lake country of Scotland. A friend who grew up in Glasgow recommended—no, insisted—that we visit a place in the Trossachs called Monachyle Mhor. He said it was a magical place. How could we not go?

He was right. Here we discovered Loch Voil and the endless streams that tumble down from the surrounding hills that flow into the loch, creating the only sound you can hear for miles. The surounding forests were dense and filled with moss and centuries-old trees that were all colors of green and lit-up by the filtered sunlight. We saw very few people. Actually we saw many more sheep than people. Were we in a dream? No, my friend later said—just Scotland. It was breathtaking and so peaceful. Magical indeed.

The path to Monachyle Mhor is paved, but is single lane. About the width of a bike path and way off the beaten path for tourists. There are many places to hike and get even deeper into nature and on one of our hikes we came upon a huge cairn, basically in the middle of nowhere. Cairns have a Scottish Gaelic heritage and actually date back to pre-history in their use. They are used as trail markers worldwide, especially in places where it is difficult to discern the path, like glaciers and barren ground above timberline. As we came closer to the cairn, we realized just how big it was—see the attached photo below (I also have a cairn in the TruPath logo). We wondered how these stones came to be here, when they were placed and by whom? There is no doubt they had been there for hundreds of years. We had stumbled on an ancient path, yet one still travelled by 21st century humans.

I choose to believe now that we were meant to see it and contemplate it’s meaning. Ever have the feeling that you were being guided somewhere but you weren’t sure why? That’s how this experience felt, that the message from the stones was “you are on the right path, my friends, like many before you. Godspeed in your journey”. I am certain I’ve missed some of the markers in my own journey, simply because I was going too fast and was too self-absorbed and did not see the signs. But not this day. We were on the right path.

So as you contemplate your own journey and it’s pace, are you slowing down enough to read the signs, to see the trail markers wise and courageous navigators and adventurers have left behind for us? They are there if we will only open our eyes and hearts, and trust our instincts that we are on the right path.