Lost & Found – The Path

Okay, all right. So You’re walking along this path, and you can’t quite remember how you got there, or what you are heading for. The path leads through a darkened wood. You seem to think that you’ve been walking along this path for a very, very long time, yet it seems completely unfamiliar. There is something just ahead of you on the trail. It seems that it keeps changing shape. Sometimes it takes the form of a magpie, or a fox. At other times, you catch a glimpse of a woman’s back, disappearing into the trees.

Sometimes, there is a break in the trees, and the path follows the edge of high cliffs. A great ocean roars and pounds against jagged black rocks far below you. There are immense, awful sea creatures out on the steel-grey waters, scooping up whales and ships in their immense jaws. There are large, black birds circling overhead. Sometimes they dive and claw at your shoulders and your head. You can feel their razor talons raking the flesh of your face. Screaming with fear and pain, you run on, blinded by your own blood.

Back in the cover of trees, you hide between the roots of a great tree. You want nothing more than to just rest in this spot. You want to close your eyes, and fall into eternal sleep in some sun-drenched field of poppies. But something tells you that you cannot rest, not yet. Something tells you that you must get to your feet again, and keep moving on. If only you could remember why you are walking on this path, and where it leads to.

Eventually, you have walked so far that you no longer have any sense of time or distance. You may have been walking for an eternity, or only a few days. Your feet are bloody and raw. You are crossing an open plain now, amidst a ferocious downpour. The freezing rain is battering your exposed flesh, and running in chill rivulets down your collar. The air smells sulphurous and vile. The ground has turned to swamp beneath your feet, and every step is a great struggle to move forward.

Just when you are sure that you will lose your mind to fear and exhaustion and fever, you see a break in the clouds far ahead. There is the faint glimmer of a constellation in the southern sky that is swallowed up again by carbon-black clouds. But that glimpse was enough. In a flash of insight, you remember why you have been walking this hard, dangerous path. You remember that this path you started on so long ago leads to the place of fearlessness. You remember that it passes through the dark geography of your deepest fears.