I’m a thru-hiking video junkie.
I love to watch the journey people take from one end of a trail to the other. The Appalachian Trail (more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine) is the one I’ve watched people hike the most, but at first, I was confused by some of the lingo thru-hikers used.
A couple of such phrases were “white” and “blue” blazes. Eventually, I figured out that the white blazes are just marks (usually on trees) to keep hikers on the trail. Blue blazes are marks that take hikers down side trails, usually to spectacular views, a water source, a campground or any number of other interesting features.
Blue blazes require extra work. A hiker might be pulled from the main trail by a mile or more, which means his or her overall mileage for that day is going to take a hit, but almost always, the hiker who follows blue blazes is happy because the payoff at the end of the side trail is worth it.
It makes me think about the rat race we are all prone to run in ordinary life and how intentional we must be to look for the blue blazes.
For me, blue blazes include veering from working overtime to read, or skipping television to hit a local walking trail, or making time to meet friends for coffee — even when I’m pressed for time.
I tend to stick with the white blazes — to keep working, to put my feet up at the end of the workday and watch TV, or to check off the next thing on my to-do list. There’s a place for all that, but I have a feeling that when I look back, I’ll be happy that I intentionally stepped away once in a while to explore the blue blazes of life.