Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2014 #27

My favorite road pictures. From different places, different times … and for a variety of reasons. Since I started taking pictures, I’ve been searching for the perfect path, the one that symbolizes life. Over the past 40 years, I’ve expanded my search from woodland paths, to roads of all kinds, including canals and railroad tracks. There is something inherently symbolic about a path.

There used to be a game we played. Not really a game, more like a mental imaging exercise. I originally heard it in the 1960s when I was in college. I was told it wasn’t psychology, but rather drew on symbolism, images out of mythology and folklore. And, of course, our subconscious.

If you feel inclined, come along with me. The meanings, to the degree I understand them, are at the bottom of the page after the photo gallery. I’m pretty sure if you Google this, you’ll find other versions.

1. Imagine you are going to take a walk in the woods. What kind of day is it (sunny, cloudy, raining, warm, cold, summer, winter, autumn, spring)? It can be anything, whatever you see.

2. There is a path ahead of you. Describe the path (open and clear, full of rocks and other hazards, overgrown, etc.).

3. What is the woods like? Pine? Hardwood? Does the sun filter through?

4. As you walk along the path, you see a structure. What is it? It can be any kind of structure — house, shed, ruin, church, modern — anything. Describe it, please. Does anybody live there? Are they home? Do you go inside? How do you feel about the place?

5. Now it’s time to leave the house. You are back on the path and you come to a body of water. What kind of water (stream, river, ocean, lake, puddle, creek, swamp, etc.). You need to get to the other side. How do you cross the water? (Let your imagination roam free!)

6. Having crossed the water, you rejoin the path. As you stroll or stride along the path, you look down and see a cup. What does it look like? Do you pick it up? Keep it or not?

7. Further down the path, you spy a bear. What is the bear doing. What do you do about the bear?

8. You have passed the bear and you have walked a distance until you come to a wall. What does the wall look like? Can you see over it? Do you know (or can you see) what is on the other side of the wall?

What it means, as I learned it:

1. The walk is life and the day is how you see life — dark or bright, shadowy or sunny. All that you see is part of your vision of life. Whether or not there are obstacles in the path, or the path is clear is also part of it. The nature of the woods is also descriptive of how you see life.

2. The structure is your childhood. Many people see a storybook house, gingerbread or the woodsman’s cottage out of Hansel and Gretel. Some people find it terrifying. Some people go inside and don’t want to leave.

3. The body of water indicates how you feel about the challenges in your life. The body of water can be just a puddle that you step over, or an ocean that requires you conjure up an ocean liner to cross. It can be deep and dark, scary or someplace lovely into which you want to wade or swim. How difficult (or easy) it is to cross the water talks about how you feel about overcoming obstacles you {did, are, will} face.

4. The bear is responsibility. Some people run, others freeze. Some people make friends with the bear and it accompanies them on the rest of the walk. It’s all in your imagination and there are no limits.

5. The wall is death. The most common things to see on the other side are a beautiful mansion (heaven?) … more forest (reincarnation or just a continuation?) … the ocean … One guy saw a burning forest (ouch). What you see is what you see and it may not be what you expect.

I have done this several times at different ages and stages of my life. My answers were different each time, reflecting the current me.

What little I know of this is its origins are probably late 1890s, England. Hope you enjoyed your walk!

Categories: #gallery, #Photography, Cee's Photo Challenge, highways, New England, Transportation, Travel

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13 replies

  1. Interesting and intriguing. Thanks Marilyn.


  2. Reblogged this on Artistic Explorations and commented:
    Just had to share this! Gorgeous pics and love the imaging exercise!


    • Thank you! The walk in the woods is fun … and it’s also illuminating. You discover things you didn’t know you believed … or at least, I did. If you rerun it is subsequent years, you discover how much your beliefs have changed 🙂


  3. wonderful pictures…


  4. Fabulous set of photos.


  5. Reblogged this on Impromptu Promptlings and commented:
    Really do have to give this a try.


    • It’s fun and interesting. You discover you believe things you didn’t know you believe. Even when you know what each thing means, you still can’t control what your mind conjures.


  6. Very intriguing. I did one of these exercises where you walked through an art gallery to eventually open the doors to a room that held a life-sized statue of you. I found it fascinating and did not picture at ALL what I thought I would see. http://promptlings.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/exercise-in-self-perception/


    • That’s one of the most interesting things about it. Even if you know what each part of the journey means, you still can’t control what you mind sees. It’s not unlike doing one of those “past life regressions.” It may not be a real past life, but it’s something that means something to you because it comes out of your subconscious — or at least that’s how it was explained to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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