On my morning walk through our little woods, I was reminded of one of the … annoyances? hazards? … to walking, particularly as we get into late summer and early fall.
The spiders have no idea that they’re building their homes by crossing the path in front of me, and yet they seem to purposely do so. And why is it always at face level?
When we’re in the big woods, Jason and Buck usually lead and Jason often gets facefulls of spiderwebs – My Hero.
But on our little path, this morning by myself, I hit one line and remembered my best trick:
Pick up a stick and carry it in front of my face.
It clears the cobwebs.
On the bridle paths we hike, we always find a shocking amount of twigs, sticks, branches, and on the occasion trees crossing the path. We don’t always move them. Some aren’t worth moving as they’re not really in the way. Some can be easily tossed aside, if they’re a tripping hazard, that’s totally worth it. Sometimes, though, they actually are a true obstacle in the path. That obstacle may be to people, and sometimes its even to horses.
And so, if we can we try to move it.
Jason has met some of the volunteers who keep the trails clear of big stuff and blaze and move trails when they become impassible for wetness. They carry chainsaws and loping shears and big tools. We don’t do that, sometimes we scramble over and duck under and around a big tree that’s blocking the path, and that’s fine. But when we can clear the path – leave it better than we found it – we do so.
Sometimes, I think about annotations that way. I write in definitions for words I don’t know or questions or responses I may have to the text, clearing away the vocabulary and syntax challenges so that I can move through the passage more freely. I hope my annotations are a help and not a hindrance to the next reader – even if that is myself.
What really clears the cobwebs, though is taking a friend along for the walk and talking about what I’m reading. I have a few Voxer friends who I read and discuss with, or read with Scholé Sistership, or I read with the Literary Life Podcast and/or Cindy Rollins on Patreon. There are places to let your friend take a facefull of cobwebs, and you take them in your turn. That’s better than carrying a stick any ol’ day.