While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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Path Change

Walking with Charlie through the woods behind the dog park, I find the path has grown more and more familiar from our almost daily visits this past year and a half. A quarter of a mile or so in, the path makes a hard right and heads toward a stream in which Charlie and many other dogs love to frolic. But the path is blocked by downed branches. It’s been this way since the heavy rains from last summer and the heavy snow this past October. We’ve all adjusted, making temporary detours, even clearing new paths, until someone makes things right again. But no one has. After all the waiting, it appears the new path will remain.

It dawns on me: that’s life after Jonah. Having coped with so much debris scattered across and obstructing the pathway of our lives, it’s become increasingly probable that things will stay this way forever. Jonah’s not returning. There’s no going back. This newly-cut passageway in our lives will remain.

Interestingly, as I approach the altered path and peer at it from some distance, it’s actually a clear shot down this new trail, from the place where it was blocked, across the fresh trail, and back onto the old path. The original path doesn’t even look right anymore.

Jonah’s portrait of Post-Katrina Disarray Ocean Springs, MS February 2007

Jonah’s portrait of Post-Katrina Disarray
Ocean Springs, MS February 2007

I think that sometimes we imagine we’re stuck, that obstacles and obstructions have sealed our fate, our failure. But the lesson here may be that if we can get ourselves to look at our new situation from a distance, with fresh perspective, we may find that the new path is just fine. We’ll be fine. Even if we remember for the rest of our lives how lovely the original path had once been.

As I proceed along this trail, I unthinkingly try to walk where fallen branches block my way, as if to say, “Nope. Can’t go that way. Not anymore.” So I turn, with a sigh, and as my feet find new steps to take, I’m somewhat surprised to find that it’s okay. The walk is still a lovely one, even if nature has changed it forever.

With Jonah gone, I find that the path has shifted forever. And it’s okay.

Sort of.


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