Walking in the woods some months ago I had the idea of posting signs along the way. My thought was to set up something like the Stations of the Cross, only woods and walking-related. And yes, it was probably around Easter when the idea came to me. And yes, this would be a sacrilegious exercise. But I like to think that it could possibly still be spiritual.
The idea led me to want to get more specific about what, exactly, the Stations of the Cross are. I mean, you need to know the foundation you’re building on before you get to far along with any new construction, right?
So, here goes (from Wikipedia):
The standard set from the late 16th to 20th centuries has consisted of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:
- Jesus is condemned to death
- Jesus takes up his Cross
- Jesus falls for the first time
- Jesus meets his Mother
- Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
- Jesus falls for the second time
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
- Jesus falls for the third time
- Jesus is stripped of his garments
- Jesus is nailed to the Cross
- Jesus dies on the Cross
- Jesus is taken down from the Cross
- Jesus is laid in the tomb
So I had it wrong from the outset, starting with the fact that I thought there were just 12 stations. And I had no idea that Simon and Veronica factored into it.
The only Veronica I’ve ever known was the one who hung out with Archie and Betty.
And what does it mean, “Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem”? That just seems like a really odd thing to throw onto Jesus’ schedule on such a busy day.
Reading through the stations, though, I started to feel pretty guilty about my tone here. My beef truly isn’t with Jesus and I feel awful about what was done to him. I reserve my snarky disdain for all the people who ‘worship’ Jesus so loudly now, but use him as a weird excuse for doing to others, the exact things that were done to him.
And, needless to say, these particular stations posted along the trails would be at best puzzling and at worst discouraging and/or scary for walkers and bikers and snowmobilers to come upon out of nowhere. So best to try something a little different.
So here is more along the lines of what I was thinking. Just some little signposts along the way…
Stations of the Trails
- Stretch, soften, and expand.
- Say hello to the red pines and hemlocks — and the lady-slippers, if you’re really lucky!
- Remember, you must move at least one piece of detritus off the trail.
- What new things have you seen thus far?
- Don’t let the downhills make you cocky.
- Where did your mind go just now?
- Have you seen any birds today? Any new scat?
- Lift up your arms, look skyward — and try to maintain your balance.
- Remember to exhale.
- You can do it!
- Where’s Caleb? Where’s Freya?
- Think of something you’re grateful for, and be grateful for it.
- Stop right here and listen for a second. Okay, now go on.
- Do this again tomorrow, or maybe even today!