Gates and Ladders


Gates and ladders.   

As I walk across the green pastures of England, I have opened and closed 100+ one-person gates and climbed over tens of country walls using ladders built over the top of the walls. 

That's how you walk across England. Through gates and up and down ladders.

On this adventure, each time I have gone through a gate or climbed a ladder, a new pasture of hundreds of sheep or cows has greeted me. 98% of the time my crossing has been mellow. A few of the times, however, the animals have been more excited to meet me...rather than me meet them. 

On these closer encounters, I resort to twirling my open umbrella as I walk. The animals seem to find the twirl hypnotizing as it works most of the time in freezing them in their tracks and keeps them from getting too close.

But the umbrella twirl hasn't always worked.

Once it caused a big ram to stomp his foot in serious protest and move aggressively my way. A second time it caused a herd of 20 very large cows to grow more curious and move to block the path in which I needed to walk. For ten minutes, I stood shouting; the cows stood, staring and listening. It took all my "motivational" skill, but I finally "inspired" them to move so I could keep moving.

Or they just got bored and walked away.

Gates and ladders. 

It reminds me of the continuous movement of life...and of the opening and closing of life's "gates."

Moments end.

People leave.

Opportunities close.

We can be disappointed the "gate has closed" or be deeply saddened that the person is gone...but that doesn't mean life is over. I have always found a new moment, a special person or a new opportunity inevitably awaited me in the matter what I just lived through. Going through the future's "gates and ladders" might not replace the people and moments we loved in the past, but the new "gates and ladders" can still be beautiful additions to the rest of our lives.

New adventures.

Life-changing people.

Awesome experiences.

They are always in our future.

We just can't be afraid of the gates and ladders.

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Shawn Anderson                                                 (310) 402-4826