A cloud of dust enveloped the car as Seeker pulled off to the side of the road. Something had piqued his interest, and being the curious sort, he stopped to check it out. Leading off away from the road was an unpaved trail, a route Seeker had never noticed before. As the dust settled, Seeker emerged from his car with three maps in his hand, and he studied them.
One map held only destinations. Seeker had been to some of them, and he had been told that many others were "must see" locations. The most desirable destinations had names like Happy Marriage, Financial Security, Meaningful Work, and Healthy Children. Other destinations were on the map, too. Dead-End Job, Credit Card Debt, Hopeless Addiction . . . places that one may pass through or get stuck in, but not places that people were clamoring to find. Sometimes it was hard to tell which was which just by a name on the map, but once a person spent time in a place, its character became more apparent.
It had been easier for Seeker to find his way to some desirable locations because of a second map he possessed. Although the second map had no destinations marked, it conveyed the routes that one might take. The map indicated which routes were easy, which were challenging, and which were somewhere in between. It revealed which paths were well-traveled and which would make for lonely journeys. Some roads had special requirements, like training in a specific skill or approval of a particular person, and some were patently unsafe. When Seeker remembered to compare the two maps, he had been able to discern manageable routes to some of the destinations he had been encouraged to find.
This unknown trail leading off the well-traveled road was something of a conundrum. Here was a clear route that someone had surely traveled before, and yet there was no indication of it on his map. Since Seeker had never come across an obvious road that didn't appear on the map, he initially doubted that he even saw the odd road at all. When his eyes remained convinced that the unpaved trail was indeed a reality, he began to doubt his ability to read the map. But after a moment of getting his bearings, he surmised that this curious trail had somehow escaped being transcribed upon the map he possessed. He wondered where it led.
It was obvious that his destination map could not shed any light on the trail, and his map of routes was of no use here. So, Seeker opened the third map he had, a cartographic wonder that someone special had given him long ago. He had never needed it before, since the other two maps had served him in every other circumstance. As Seeker unfolded the page, he secretly hoped that it would give him a good reason to explore that mysterious trail. The third map was unlike the other two in its simplicity. It was comprised of a single symbol, an arrow pointing in one specific direction. When Seeker oriented the page toward the unpaved road, it became clear that the arrow pointed directly down the intriguing trail.
With a burst of exuberance, Seeker grabbed a few necessities and locked his car. He so wanted to find out where the new path led. A sense of wonder and excitement enfolded him as he set off in an unknown direction, imagining where it might lead.
To be continued...