By Michele Zirkle Marcum - Contributing columnist

From sunsets over the Rocky Mountains to sunrises over the Atlantic, the majesty of Earth’s beauty continuously amazes me. I’ll turn off the worn path and onto a more obscure one to experience a new view. I’ll brave the trip alone with only the breeze and smooth jazz for company, anything to feel that thrill of the surprise view that tickles my insides. But what if there were no roads. Would I be so brave then?

Driving backroads through obscure country and creeping across gravel roads to dead ends at midnight can be unnerving. But what would I do to satisfy my exploring nature if there were no road of any kind? Not blacktop, not gravel or dirt. No interstate or rocky ravine, just me and my imagination and willpower.

I pondered this as I the fog lifted from the Blue Ridge Mountains I was crossing. What if life is the map that’s not charted, the road not yet constructed. Would I be willing to forge ahead knowing the path will only appear as I create it? Would I be brave enough to trust that the ground will feel solid only when I press my foot onto what appears to be nothing?

I imagined the horizon merging the spectrum of divine colors with that of the sea, and I envisioned the shape I want my future to take — the feelings, the people, the places I want to paint into my evolving picture. I imagine that, with each step, the area below my foot forms a unique shape and lights up. I feel empowered and excited to see what shape — what scene — reveals itself.

With each subsequent step, another piece is added and, with practice, the apprehension subsides. I keep adding another piece to an ever-expanding jigsaw puzzle, all the while, knowing it will never be complete, knowing the masterpiece I’m designing will never reach perfection and that, in order to be happy, I have to form each piece from the heart. I have to accept that, similar to Machado’s description in his poem, the only path is the one made by walking it.

Constructing highways on an invisible landscape requires more than a vivid imagination and might — it requires faith. Faith in our abilities. Faith that our faults will make our road stronger. Faith that guidance from above is in our best interest. Faith that, even if the path we create is different than we expected — harder, more boring, less intriguing — the adventure is ours to behold and ours to mold to our liking.

So, step breathlessly with faith into areas that both scare and excite you. Capture the Divine essence of creation and create the unique picture no frame can hold. Even if you can’t see the canvas, you can feel it when you reach past the fear and grab ahold of faith. But most of all, enjoy traveling the unconstructed highway where maps are obsolete — and so are wrong turns.

By Michele Zirkle Marcum

Contributing columnist

Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, Ohio, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. She can be reached at [email protected]

Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County, Ohio, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. She can be reached at [email protected]