It's important to have a destination. Even if the journey is where the fun is found, without a destination one won't know when to stop, or how far to go before turning around.
I am an idiot.
Case in point:
Last Thursday I went for a walk with J_ after work. We had tried to originize a group outing to the local pond for a late afternoon picnic and to feed the ducks. All our freinds were otherwise occupied, and as we had already eaten we scrapped the picnic and just went to feed the ducks ourselves.
I'm not sure exactly what a group of ducks are called (flock? gaggle? something else?) but ducks - as I understand nature (and I am an accredited naturologist) - usually travel together. That is why, upon arriving at the pond I was confused to find a lone black duck on the water. All by itself, no other duck in sight. Had I considered this more carefully perhaps I would have thought this to be an omen, a sign of things to come.
But I didn't, and things did come. Discouredged that there weren't ducks (plural) to feed, and that the lone duck had no interest in our company or our bread (definately an omen), we kept on walking past the pond through the small park.
After coming upon the other half of the park, not yet renovated, the asphalt gave way to a very narrow dirt path walled by talk stalks of something, (reeds? straw? something along those lines anyway.
I don't live in Manhattan. Hell I barely even live in Queens, but I do in fact live in Queens and Queens is part of New York City, and one wouldn't suspect any bit of nature to go on too far. When one thinks of NYC one isn't thinking nature. Given that, I thought to myself how far can this dirt path really go? (Please see statement above) and with J_ a bit reluctant in tow, walked into the reeds.
It started off as a nice walk. We talked about mostly inconsequintial things and didn't quite realize the ground slowly shifting from dirt to mud beneath our feet.
After about forty minutes, our sneakers were covered in mud. The path split into two, on direction petering off into the underbrush, the other appeared to open up further down (what would Robert Frost do?).
It was at this point, when we thought our feet couldn't get any muddier that J_ said we should probably turn around and go back the way we came. I stood opposed to that, rationalizing that we were probably more than halfway down the path (and on that account I was correct) thus there would be less mud to walk through by trecking forward than by turning back. "We've come this far." I said, "We migth as well continue to the bitter end."
I took the lead, confident in my manliness guiding us through nature. I would conquor the terrain. Mud doesn't bother man. Man revels in mud, dirt and nature are his home. Water on the other hand...
Sploosh! Two steps forward and we were both ankle deep in water. Forget the mud, the mud was pleasant in comparison. The water was cold and grimy, and all together unpleasant.
The reeds receded behind us and a marsh like area, the size of a football feild loomed in front of us. And of course, there were the ducks. Away from the larger body of water we spotted Northern Blvd. and decided to make our way back towards civilization, the ducks be damned.
Sloshing through the ankle deep water, stepping on dry and dead reeds to keep our pants as dry as possible we waded towards our salvation.
J_ lost her balance at a few points, dropping to her knees, and of course I teased her mercilessly for lacking my natural grace in the water. Fed up with wading (wet up to her knees) J_ pointed straight forward, suggesting we just cut through it all, we were already as wet as can be. I, on the other hand, wanted to continue working the circumfrance of the marsh, it just seemed safer.
I was the man, and as the man I should have stood ground. But just like many other men before, I did something stupid because a girl asked.
So we took J_'s path, which really wasn't a path, until, halfway across, we were stopped by a stream leading down into the main pond behind us. The stream was about five feet across, and I thought to myself I could easily jump this. Then I turned to J_ and said, "I can easily jump this."
The few things I didn't consider at the time: I was already standing ankle deep in water and my shoes were wet and heavy. Though I could have jumped five feet across easy in high school, I am about ten years older and very out of shape. That the stream could concievably be deeper than the water in which I then stood. (Once again see the beginning)
So I jumped.
So I landed.
But not on the other side.
And the water was far deeper in the stream than on either side of it.
And I fell waist deep into the dirty, salty, cold, disgusting water.
J_ wisely took the path I suggested.
We splashed through the rest of the marsh and finally (with a mild scare of poison ivy) made it to Northern Blvd.
The walk back home, though the company was pleasant, was the opposite of comfortable.
Stupid, stupid ducks.
4 weeks ago