After a lovely day on the banks of the river, we were ready to go home. Running around for hours left us dehydrated. But which way was quickest?
A 12-year old wondered aloud while walking uphill: “Why is this the fastest way?” Anxious to share a geometry lesson, I explained that the shortest distance between two points was not meandering along the winding waterway.
Soon, the steep climb was made harder by the unshaded heat of the sun. The high road had become the path of toil. We had left the tree-lined, scenic route behind. We began to sing as a distraction in our best Scottish accent: “O, Ah’ll take the high road, and ye’ll take the low road; and Ah’ll be in Scotlan’ afore ye.” A handy reminder that this trek was the price of getting there sooner.
Another lyric we remembered was: “for me and my true love will never, never part.” This inspired joy for the highroad. We later learned that the actual words of the song has the singers taking the low road, and never seeing their true love again. So why risk striking out on the high road at all? In this case, we were led to where the sun-loving flowers seek the light, and we found time to enjoy supper before bedtime.
Steve Olshewsky is a Writing as Ministry student at the Earlham School of Religion.