Some of my thoughts on love and our journey on earth. Followed with a story I wrote based from a prompt Aaron gave me. It turned into a collaborative piece with him writing the ending. Writing this short story was a blessing to me, I felt the need to share it sooner than later even though I haven’t completely “finished” it yet.
I have somehow become too busy to commit to my writing sessions. In revisiting this I am reminded that I need to make time.
Love one another. A lesson you must learn. Love for yourself is what comes after, but love for God comes first. However, these all coexist with one another. Your love is not full with only one and not the rest and when put to the test – push onward and believe. Learning how to love is a lifelong journey; loving in all humility and sincerity. Another lifelong journey – learning to be humble, in all aspects of life.
There are highs and lows in the journey
It’s not all travels along ridges or walks across the balds, with spectacular views, partly cloudy skies and a slight breeze carressing your body.
It’s downhills with aching, shaking knees and sore ankles, through thick forests and descents to open valleys.
It’s the neverending meadows with often no shade from the scorching sun.
It’s abrupt temperature changes, sometimes feeling like your own personal hell. However, remind yourself that you must walk through it all to get to your destination. You can see those glorious peaks in the distance and you will reach them in due time. After crossing over the well awaited river in the valley; the river that pours from the mountain spring.
Pour into my soul
When my days are tiring
I am empty, you make me whole”
I was tired. Taking a rest on a fallen tree, I told myself I wasn’t prepared for this yet. However, my longing for the water was strong, my desire deep. I was only six miles into the forest with about three more to go. I checked my watch – 2:27. I had made good time thus far, and did not have much time for a break. The sky overhead threatened a storm – those of which I had heard could be potentially life threatening if one found themselves caught in it. The rain would pour and accumulate out of the reservoir uphill, only to be released down in a fury of water. It was the same reservoir that was filled from the spring I was searching for. I finished my lunch and, a bit energized from my time sitting, pressed on up the trail. I had a second-wind.
I kept my eyes open for a shelter: one that would be safe from the storm. Another half-hour passed me by and I felt a raindrop tap against my nose. I stopped for a moment to look up. The sky darkened overhead as the rain increased, creating a pitter-patter sound on the leaves. The storm was knocking and I had no choice but to let it in. The rushing water would find me soon.
I continued with haste up the mountain with confidence that I’d find a safe haven soon. My thighs and lungs burned, my whole body begging for another break. I denied myself, I had to. Two miles to go, I whispered to myself between strained breaths. The rain became more aggressive within a short amount of time. Thankfully, my gear stayed dry. I was somewhat prepared for this, I suppose. I had been told that approximately a mile and a half to the top there was a hiding place. I had to press on through the rain, despite the possibilities of being washed out. I had no choice. Despite the undeniable danger of the storm, the rain remained magical, resembling a cleansing of sorts. A cleansing… similar to that of the one I would receive at the spring.
This was just the beginning, I reminded myself as I climbed as quickly as I could manage. My progress was gradual with the rain, the mud, and the incline, not to mention the elevation gain and my drenched shoes. A small creek was accumulating on the trail and I sensed that it would soon turn to the river I was warned of. My heart beat increased more so as my fear built up. Would I make it? My mind raced, questioning my efforts. Doubt began to creep in to my thoughts as I remembered something important – the berry bushes.
They said berry brambles occupy both sides of the trail, making it impossible to avoid the descending water. An obstacle on the trail, but they also promise the upcoming shelter. Hope began to swell in me. And then I saw it! Through blurry blinking eyes, I found the alcove carved into the rockface. I had to climb up to it and the slippery surface proved that challenging, especially with a heavy pack. I considered leaving it behind but I couldn’t be without it on my lengthy return to the base of the mountain. I said a prayer and grabbed onto the grooves in the rock formations. This had been done many times before. It was evident, as if a trail had been carved by those who had come before me. Tricky, but a trail nonetheless.
And then I heard it: the river rushing. The source of life, but number one cause of death on this trail. My heart pounded. I scrambled upward as carefully as it was possible. I reached the nook. My arms shaking, I managed to pull myself up and I was safe with perfect timing as I witnessed the most violent river rush by me, taking fallen branches with it. Thunder echoed through the leaves as lightning lit up the forest. It was powerful; unbelievable.
I removed my shoes and pack, and huddled under my blanket. I managed to start a fire, thanks to those who stocked this haven with dry wood. My adrenaline was intense and I knew I needed to eat but somehow didn’t have an appetite even after all the physical strain. I watched in disbelief at the phenomenon that was occurring, astonished that I was a bystander, not a victim. It is said that half of those who attempt to reach the spring either give up or… or don’t make it at all. I was not part of that half. I made it this far and now await the storm to pass. All who make it to the spring must endure the storm and by the time it passed, the sun was at the edge of the horizon. I was spending the night in the nook; a long night it was, with my mind racing and body still in survival mode. It was clear that I was, in all reality, prepared for this.
As the sun rose, I returned to the trail and consumed my share of the fresh berries before finishing that last mile and a half. I also spent several minutes foraging for fallen wood to replenish what I used. Terrain and situationally speaking, it was the easiest part of the hike. On the contrary, I was in a state of exhaustion. My entire body ached, my eyes drooped, my shoes were still damp. My pack somehow felt heavier even though it was lighter. My head in a fog, I navigated over the roots and rocks.
I reached the treeline shortly after sunrise, opening up the view to pink and orange skies. My eyes immediately directed towards the spring and the light hit it in the most glorious way, illuminating the source. I stood in awe of the water flowing out of that rock. I removed my pack and, more importantly, my shoes. I slowly proceded. The reservoir glistened as I approached. I touched the water.
The moment my fingertips made contact with the crystal clear surface, the chill of the water pulsated through my body and began to bring my senses back to life. In that moment, I realized that the water was alive. I reached my hand and, cupping my palm, I brought the medicine to my lips. I consumed the water with the reverence of my first communion. I looked up, my eyes now feeding off the becoming blue sky. I breathed deeply and thanked the Creator for not only the reward of the water and his protection but also for the obstacles he placed in my path in order to build my strength and as a reminder to not take life for granted. Suddenly, I heard a voice so close it seemed it was a tree who spoke with the words: “drink child.”