I scrambled through the thick bushes and through the night. The thorny branches tucked on my pants and scratched my legs through the fabric. The usually dry land was all slippery from the rain that has finally stopped about an hour ago.
I climbed on the top of the cattle guard – wooden stairs led up and down over the fence where the trail entered the pasture. No cows were in sight and there was a big chance that I wasn’t going to encounter any during my hike, so vast was their territory.
Pools of water collected on both sides of the guard. What I desired most right next to being able to finally break the camp and go to sleep was to keep my shoes (and my self in general) at least somewhat dry. So far, I’ve succeeded. These pools of dirty water presented me with the seemingly last challenge of that day.
I carefully stepped over the top; the stairs were unbelievably slippery. But bringing the other leg through proved to be a completely different beast, especially with the backpack on my back.
I got stuck on top of the stairs. Just when I thought I got through, my foot slipped and I found myself falling right towards the dirty puddle some four or five feet below me. In one last attempt to save myself from taking a bath, and, very possibly, breaking my leg or some other bone in my body, I grabbed onto the fence with my hand and…
And wanted to let go, immediately. The fence was topped with barbed wire; something I didn’t notice in the dark, and the metal thorns replaced the ones growing on the bushes.
However, between breaking a leg and getting drenched to the bone together with all my stuff, which would surely result in me being stuck here in the middle of nowhere, in pain, freezing my butt off the whole night and probably getting sick later, and holding onto the barbed wire to prevent that… my brain chose the wire, without thinking about it twice.
I might or might not have saved myself from breaking my bones and getting the cold on the trail, and I surely had a much better night in the below-zero temperatures that came sometime in the early morning hours in the warmth of my dry clothes and sleeping bag and the comfort of not having broken anything, than I would have had had I not held onto the wire.
Now, several days later, my hand still hurts. The wounds stopped bleeding and are slowly healing but the skin and flesh still burn and sting whenever I’m using my hands and I’m questioning my decision every time I try to eat or type or wash the dishes.
But I don’t regret holding onto that wire. Because sometimes, we just have to do what we have to do.
Because sometimes, there’s no good choice.
Because sometimes, we just have to choose between the bad and the worse.
And sometimes, we just gotta hold onto that barbed wire.