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Stopping for a breath of air, I turned to analyze my progress. The loops, circles, backtracks and lostness of where I had been was crushing. Even the most recent leg of my journey further defined randomness. My desultory pilgrimage seemed to only stop if I ceased my progression. Somewhere in the midst of this past history lay the navigation to the future. Is there something to be learned? Should I start over? I could make no sense of it; no pattern, no continuity, only chaos. I wish I could somehow reach down, grab the path at my feet, and pull with all my might to remove the kinks, circles, and frustrations. I could not understand why my ascent was so painful . . . so unlike the others. I sat down in bewilderment. My vantage point afforded me a panoramic view. Across the valley, in all directions, the paths of others on their own unique treks looked similar to mine. The people that walked those are not the ones I envied. Where are the straight paths? The ones unwavering, without hesitation? I squinted my eyes and looked at mountain ranges miles away. Many paths abounded, but the paths of deliberation and foresight were out of view. I turned to look up the rugged part of my journey remaining. The shortest route, straight and direct, would take me over unscalable boulders and canyons too deep and dangerous to traverse. I pictured conquering these obstacles in defiance of what or who tried to impede me. I reluctantly conceded that detours were necessary. I imagined the continuation of my journey and saw the crooks and curves in my mind. I had gone so far to be so close to my departure. I believed my goal, my aspiration, my peace, were to be laid out in order before me on the pinnacle. With non-wavering dedication to completing the journey, I tried all the harder. After all, making the summit would annul earlier errors and instill the wisdom that I could carry with me down to those awaiting my enlightened return. The thinness of the air and the coldness of the wind in my face impeded progress and caused me to look down at my feet rather than the summit. My shoes were worn and the soles were flapping on the ground. My steps were labored but deliberate. I continued only to find that I had lost sight of the peak. I had walked miles getting nowhere. I turned again and saw my path, contorted and mystical. The coldness of rain and misery of gray sucked the life from me. My internal fire was flickering, threatening to extinguish all together. I sat and sobbed. Small rivulets ran past me over pebbles, stones, and boulders; around rises and beneath fallen trees. Part of them were captured in pools and lakes until the level raised enough to overflowing and a portion of the fallen rain could continue its journey. The trapped water remaining would nourish animals and plants or would be coaxed into the heavens by a warming sun; lifted up as if given another chance, another journey; a chance to fall upon some foreign land or into an ocean. The dynamics of chaos, The beauty of chaos. The frustration of chaos. The need for chaos. A ray of light caught my eye and the clouds parted, illuminating my way once again. I was cold and shivering. The mud stuck to my feet not only made them nearly impossible to lift, but weighed down my heart as well. At times on all fours, I clawed at the hill. My fingers bled and the water running down my hair and onto my face was combined with the salty torrents welling from my eyes. Sweat and pain and heart flowed from every pore. A warm wind blowing off the ocean was at my back. I brushed the sand off me, stood up, and looked ahead. I saw nothing but mountain peaks on both sides of me, higher than the one I had just conquered. They were all laced with paths just like mine. The difference with the mountain before me is that this one looked familiar. It looked more comfortable. It looked inviting. I can't wait.

 

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