Two weeks ago, at the beginning of my morning walk, I came to a path that I have taken frequently in the 14 years I’ve lived here. It’s only about 400 meters long, and has a row of backyards on one side, and part of a mountainside on the other. The day before, much of the snow had melted, leaving most of the path uncovered. I came to a spot that looked like plain old snow. I walk pretty fast, and I did not slow down. As soon as my foot came down, I realized the snow was in fact a sheet of deceptively benign looking ice. My foot went right out from under me and I crashed down on my other knee. I wanted to stay down and cry. I realized if I did this, I would soon be crying in a puddle. So I angrily got up and decided to just go back home.

I limped for a while, and the pain started to decrease. At the last minute, just before getting home, I turned and finished my 1/2 hour of walking. A friend from the neighborhood was out walking too, so she walked with me, slowly.

This morning, I went to the same path. When I came to the spot where I had fallen, sure enough, there was new ice. I’ve been there before. I know ice is slippery. I slowed down and took very small, careful steps. I remember the pain, and the bruise is still on my knee from last time, but I didn’t fall again.

You’ve been there before, too. And you decided to go home, but changed your mind. Now you know that you can take another path, or walk slowly, with small steps. And soon the ice will melt.