I love dirt paths. As a rookie bug guy, every three months I would perform a pest service at a vacation cabin where the parking spot was over a hundred feet from the front door. To get to the cabin, you had to walk a dirt path. I loved walking that path, Hudson sprayer in hand, and I could picture the owners driving up from Orange County, parking in their spot, then walking the path, groceries in hand, to their mountain retreat. I bet they felt instant relaxation the second their feet hit dirt.
For me, dirt paths tap into a primal need to be in touch with the earth. When I hike on a forest path, my head clears, my worries fade away, and I feel rejuvenated. For a small business owner navigating the mine fields of California’s rules and regulations, anything that brings peace of mind without the use of alcohol, drugs, or weird stuff involving leather, is a lifesaver.
I’ve only gotten lost on a forest path one time, and I’ll never forget it. I was on vacation in Southern India, hiking on a path in the Annapurna Forest near the village of Bommayarpalayam (pronounced: bom-ah-yar-pah-lah-yom). I went off trail for about fifty feet to investigate a large Tamarind tree that had blown down during Cyclone Vardah. After satisfying my curiosity, I headed back the way I came, but I just couldn’t find that path. I was lost in a sea of thick, thorny undergrowth. I hadn’t told anyone where I was going, I had no cell phone, and Southern India is home to king cobras, vipers, and venomous spiders. I was familiar with the grid-like network of paths surrounding the forest, so I trudged in one direction—toward the morning sun—until I reached a path. My legs looked like they had been flogged by Blackbeard, but I was never so thrilled to be back on a lifesaving dirt path.
One final thought: if you’re lucky enough to be fascinated by dirt, you’re very rarely bored in life. Have a cobra free week, everyone!