As I plodded down the pavement in the dark, the smell hit me hard. Since I've been watching the new season of Twin Peaks, I immediately thought of Laura Palmer, wrapped in plastic. The fetid odor was intense for several yards, then dissipated. On the way back home, I passed by the spot again and realized the sickly stench was that of death - a lone shrimp had fallen out of someone's cooler.
Again yesterday, I ran into a similar scenario about two miles into the morning run. Along the edge of the sidewalk, where concrete meets grass, there was a shiny black coiled snake. But after a few more miles, I returned to the spot and emerging daylight revealed a black plastic fast food plate.
There are all kinds of real dangers in the world - car accidents, domestic violence, human trafficking, and terrorism. But there are also perceived bogeymen, things that block us from our life goals via negative energy. Steven Pressfield calls it "resistance." I've heard of artists who get locked up by a harsh critique, unsupportive family members, or just good old fashioned self doubt.
The next time you see a coiled serpent in your path - be careful but look closer - it might just be someone else's garbage.