Obstacles

Behold! This is a blog post that stopped my blogging in its tracks. Ironically, it’s about obstacles. I’m going to just publish and move on …

Many months ago, back when the grass was green, I had an errand up at the Eglinton West subway station. For those of you not living in Toronto, the Eglinton Street corridor across the entire city is a giant construction site, as they work on a new transit line. At this station, there was a big detour where I had to cross an intersection three times, walk down a sidestreet, and then across a parkette, all to get going back in an easterly direction.

I’m not the type to complain about necessary detours. But what I did find annoying was the portable fence the City put up along the sidestreet to discourage people from shortening their route across the parkette. As you can see in the picture, the fence blocked a path already well worn, the grass long gone. What possessed the City to put up this fence? To protect the rest of the grass? Maybe to protect the tree roots? To force people to use the paved path they were supposed to use? It’s a mystery.

The moose is an animal known for taking a straight line to its destination, and typically just climbs over (or through) obstacles in its way. I confess I like to “moose it”. So if there’s a parking lot or lawn or any sort of open space, I automatically use the shortest path to cut out the corner. I’ve even been known to climb a fence or two, if I feel sprightly that day. I guess you could say I like to “cut corners.” Luckily I’m not building buildings or bridges, or living in France where they insist you keep off the grass.

My inner moose was deeply offended by this fence. It was just a bit too tall and flimsy for me to climb over gracefully. Luckily I could just walk around the fence, unlike so many other fences in the world. It wasn’t a big deal in the scheme of things. But it struck me as an odd thing, and I took the photo so I could think about it and maybe grumble about it later to others.

To me, this fence is a good example of all those obstacles that push us into following the expected path. Not in this case, but often, it boils down to protecting private property, and that’s the system we live in, to discourage moose like me. Some obstacles are essential for our safety and peace of mind (railings, online banking signins, red lights). And sometimes they are just in the way (like this fence, or those lineup control barriers when nobody is in line). We grumble, walk the path demanded of us, and carry on.

The main point I guess is to not let obstacles get in your way. Like I let this blog post get in the way of my blogging. I had lots of fancy concepts to add here, and many more references to “what would the moose do?”, but all those additions just seemed to take away from the message.  So I’m cutting my losses here. Sometimes obstacles teach us to just move on.