Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seeker's Journey: An Emerging Fear

Seeker started off down the uncharted road brimming with anticipation and excited to be on such an unexpected adventure.  Beautiful and captivating sights and sounds were all about for one willing to notice, the simple gifts of nature.  Here a cluster of flowers occupies a hummingbird, there a trio of squirrels chase one another across the surface of an ancient-looking oak.  Beyond them in the distance was a backdrop of immense, rugged mountain contours, constant sentinels since before any person crested their ridges.  Seeker was surrounded by wonder.

But as Seeker traveled, fascination with the wondrous surroundings gave way to other thoughts.  This path was not on his map of known routes to anywhere.  Perhaps it didn't actually lead to any destination at all.  That was unlikely, since evidence suggested that the road at least passed through Serenity-in-Solitude, and Natural Wonder, but perhaps the path eventually led to someplace less pleasant.  A destination that Seeker never intended or desired.  Or perhaps the path was dangerous.  It was pleasant enough now, but who knew what unseen risks and perils might lurk ahead?  Seeker confessed aloud, I honestly have no idea where this will lead.

Turning around was always a possibility.  It wasn't too late.  The path had not forked, and there was no chance of getting lost on the way back to familiar territory.  And yet, his feet still carried him forward.  Something appealing about this unpaved road still piqued Seeker's curiosity, and so he continued on with fearful conjectures competing for his attention with the pleasures of the journey.

Even as he wrestled with his fears, the path continued to immerse him in new details of wonder.  Kaleidoscopic patterns of light as the sun filtered through leaves swaying in the wind's gentle breathing.  A colony of caterpillars in various stages of encasing themselves for transformation.  The discarded skin of a local snake, curled like a brittle stocking.  Each small wonder confirmed that the trip had been worthwhile, at least for that moment.

But as night began to fall, the fears began to win.  What had seemed like a path worth exploring now seemed like a mistake.  What if there is never anyone else along this journey?  You might be alone forever.  What if there was no meaningful work at the end of this trail?  Everything would be a struggle.  You will have to find the way to a desirable destination from a completely unknown location.  You acted too rashly and now you will have to pay the consequences.  You will be isolated and alone and unprepared in an unknown place.  Are you satisfied with entertaining your curiosity now?  All the hummingbirds and cocoons and snake scales in the world can't bring you safety and comfort.

Seeker's frustrating diatribe against himself ceased suddenly when he came across an unexpected sight.  Off to the side of the path, there was a campfire.  A hammock was strung between two sturdy old trees.  At the base of one of the trees was a trunk with a small engraved sign on top: Rest well, and be sure to share about your journey.  Seeker looked around, but there wasn't another soul in sight.  He called out, but the crackling of the fire was the only response.  So he opened the trunk and pulled it a little closer to the firelight.

In the trunk was a small basket of fresh fruit and bread, and an expensive-looking pen on top of some kind of scrapbook.  Seeker gingerly took the book and opened its pages to find that many different hands had written upon its pages.  Others before him had written about the unexpected path, the natural beauty they encountered, the fear that had gripped them all at some point.  Some people had sketched animals or plants they had seen along the way.  A few had written poems or songs about their experience.  None of them seemed to know where the path actually led, but Seeker found their writings comforting and encouraging.  He was not alone in this journey.

Then, Seeker came to a blank page.  He looked at it for a moment, slowly biting into a piece of fruit as he considered all that he had experienced in a short time.  With profound trust, he took the ornate pen and began to write by the flickering of the campfire.

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