Can you see the deer trail running through the middle of the picture? Not the shadow that starts at the right-hand edge. That's cast by an old oak snag. The deer trail runs across that shadow making an "X" in the picture's center. Deer wore that groove in the grass by repeatedly following the same path through the field. There is an old saying about the path being made by walking it. A path wasn't always there. Some one (or in this case some deer) led the way and others followed in their footsteps. Soon there was a path that became the easiest, most obvious, way to cross a field or pass through the forest. Most deer (and people) followed that path simply because it was there. When something changes, like a snag weakening and falling across the path, leaders and followers will have an obvious choice. Will they leap, climb or crawl over the snag, or make a new path? As we close out 2012, it seems to me to be a good time to think about the paths we've followed this past year and the leaders and paths we choose to follow in 2013 and ask if they take us where we want to go or, are they just the easiest way through the field?