Stinging nettle

I ran away from home when I was a teen.  Now that I look back at those days I am confident that I caused more stress than I felt under the circumstances.  Life was confusing and I couldn’t see the future.  Somebody needed to sit down with me and help me map out my next six years or so.

Usually I ran away to my dad’s place, but he wouldn’t be aware of it until he came home to voice mails from my mother.  Sometimes he wasn’t sure I was in town until I showed up from visiting my friends, so my mother had to spend her time waiting for confirmation that I was at least with him.  This met that she couldn’t go home because there was no phone at our house.

To get to my dad’s, I would simply not get on the bus to go home after school.  At the time Dad lived in town and I lived with my mother in the house in the woods a long way from town.  Usually I stayed with my dad after sports practice but when I ran away I would hang out with a friend, which was really hard to do at home.

A couple of times I ran away straight from the house.  Once I left and walked a mile and a half down the road to my neighbors house.  They let me use their phone to call my dad but they also went to get my mother so I went home more embarrassed then distraught.

One day I was out on the road returning home and I decided to cut through an unfamiliar part of the woods.  When you walk through the woods of a rain forest you have to be on a constant look out for thorns, spider webs, and poisonous plants.  Walking through the woods can be relaxing because it takes your mind off of your troubles and forces you to think about the present.  You must look ahead and plan your path and knock down the webs before you are wearing them.  I navigated my way past some stinging nettle, and then some more, and even more.

The unfamiliar portion of the woods proved to be thick with brush and I decided to turn around and return to the road.  Turning slowed me down and I became fully aware of the patch of stinging nettle around me.  I was standing in the middle of the tallest stinging nettles I had ever seen.  Six feet tall!  I turned to look at the direction that had brought me into this mess and it too was all stinging nettle.

I took a quick assessment of my exposed skin and discovered that I was miraculously fine.  Then I looked around to see if I could determine the best way out of this patch.  Or, I could just stay. Nobody would want to get to me here.  It was peaceful and quiet.

Darkness though would prove to be challenging.  I didn’t have my sleeping bag, any food, and I didn’t have the tools to make stinging nettle tea.  I wouldn’t be able to protect myself from the nettle in the dark.  In my amazement I looked around one last time and decided that the best way out was to return, simply because I knew that that route hadn’t been as bad as the unknown might be.