A few years ago the DC area was socked in by one of those blizzards that sometimes descend on Shabbos. I headed out to the Silver Spring Jewish Center.
I was plodding down the middle of Monticello Avenue between Lamberton Drive and Kersey Road etching a path on the untouched snow. The flakes were blowing right in my face. I kept my head down. Every once in a while I lifted it to get my bearings. At one point I had veered so far off from a straight path that I ended up going sideways. I made a course correction and carried on.
A few hours later the snow had stopped. I was returning from Shul.
To my horror and chagrin, a number of people — judging by the now widened and packed down path — who followed me that morning, or who were going in the opposite direction on Monticello after me, had used the zig-zag path in the snow I had made earlier. I guess it was easier to just trace my footsteps rather than to pioneer a shorter and more direct route.
By walking in a lost and roundabout way I had inadvertently led others to walk in a lost, roundabout way.
I have had to hack a path through a confusing jungle of County departments and regulations to get this market rolling. I want to keep it on the straight path. Any initial crookedness may get perpetuated down the road. So I’m going slow and steady.