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The Mystery of Recurring Journeys

Written in the mid-1990’s.

The Mystery of Recurring Journeys

The trees with their rough hewn limbs formed a canopy over the newly worn path.  As I stood just outside of the forest, it was as though I was beckoned to enter into the throat of a monster whose gaping jaws were hard to distinguish.  I moved my head this way and that, seeking earnestly to steal a glance of what lay ahead on the path, though my attempts were proved useless.  The inky blackness engulfed all that entered into the monster’s jaws, and no sounds emanated from its abyssal bowels.  I stood in amazement of how nature could conjure up such a demon as this, and thus my mind did wander.  Was it indeed nature that had brought this creature into being?  Perhaps mankind was responsible; perhaps one man alone was.  Nevertheless, I had come this far and to turn back was to bow to the power which loomed over me now, and indeed threatened to swallow me whole.  As I took a step forward, I glanced behind me to gaze at the guardian of the day one last time, to feel its warmth on my face one last time, before I took up permanent residence within the monster’s aching belly.

I finished my forward assertion, and was met by cold wind and darkness.  My hand lifted before my face was no more obvious than where the path now led.  The trees were so merciless as to not even allow one hopeful glimmer to shine through the leaves.  In light of this, I pressed on, away from the security of that which I had left behind.

Fruitless probes of my dark asylum convinced me that standing still would result in nothing beneficial.  I began to walk, touching my face and feeling the coldness of death being delivered there by the silent messenger, whose chilling touch caused my skin to shudder.  I rubbed my face to warm it, but realized that I had no heat, no comfort, left to give myself.  My hand lowered, my fingers clenched into a fist, the journey began.  One at a time, steps were taken toward destinations unknown.  While I was thus walking, my feet finally found the ruts of that well-worn path.  A sense of comfort washed over me, and relief abounded as the compacted earth provided security as does a blanket from the bitter cold night.  I walked on, and eventually found the exact depressions in the pathway where feet had tread before.  My pace easily matched that of the preformed route, and my journey was now smooth.  No decisions to be made, no hesitations encountered.

I followed my earthly guide thus, until my legs grew weary of their burden.  I laid myself down, realizing that my trip was over.  Sleep washed over me, though it was quickly blown away by the death-wrought wind.  When I awoke, I was standing outside of a forest, the sun brightly shining.  I saw before me a canopy of trees covering over a well-worn earthen path.  I noticed a grey tombstone off to the side of the entrance of the forest.  I reached out with my hand to brush aside the rose branches that covered it over.

After reading it, I looked toward the entrance of the well-worn pathway and remembered the route that I had followed earlier.  It was then that I realized that it had not been my first journey.  The path was well-worn for a reason.

***

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