I stumbled along the path, following the clearly marked pavers, confident that I was moving in the right direction. It had to go somewhere, right? It had to end somewhere? This was a familiar feeling. My life was mimicking this path with endless twists and turns and no definitive direction or purpose. Even though I was in a tropical paradise, after awhile palm trees all started to look the same. Flowering plants and crawling vines morphed into one continuous form of vegetation. I wasn’t seeing beauty anymore, I was just feeling panic. Panic that I would remain lost until dark. Panic that I wouldn’t be able to find my way back. Panic that I was being led so far away from where I wanted to go even though I was following a path, a clearly marked path.
The constant green was broken by a bright spot of orange in the distance. At first I thought it was an overgrown bush of blooming flowers. But the orange was so bright, so solid, it had to be something artificial. Nothing natural could hold that kind of vibrancy. As I rounded the last bend, the orange object came into focus. It was a hammock. It was an elaborate hammock, not a simple piece of fabric strung between two trees. This one was made up of intricate patterns and knots. Tassels dangled from the edges and the fabric looked clean and freshly laundered, not like something that had been hanging for a long time or forgotten long ago by travelers.
Who did this remarkable hammock belong to and why would they leave it here for anyone to use? Why would they share something so beautiful with strangers? I was too timid to sit on the hammock, too scared to trust it with my weight, but I touched it gently. I ran the tassels through my fingers as I searched the landscape for a house. There was nothing to be seen but the brilliant hammock and the stones beneath my feet leading me somewhere I did not yet know. I released the hammock and continued on my way. I was still lost. I was still scared. But I had seen beauty. I had recognized something unique and it had made me pause and reflect. I knew, someday, I would be back. I would find my way out and I would return. And maybe this time I would relinquish my fears and worries and I would simply swing.