Spike on the River
Neal in Antarctica
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April 14, 2004 - Wednesday, 7:19 p.m.
You know how in the journey you get to a spot where the fog has come in? Everything is grey and misty and every object a shadowy figure without form or detail. Every thing looks soft and blurry. The trail is hard to see. It looks relatively smooth and everything looks pretty non- threatening. You are lulled by the quietness and the feeling of life everywhere, but nothing seems to touch you in that surreal world. I think I am at that spot in the journey. I can't see the path ahead, and there is no point in going back (we are talking about the journey of life.. there is no going back). I worry that there could be a shear drop off ahead, or the path could get rocky and treacherous. All the world seems asleep and I am alone for all I can see. In any direction there could be danger, the desire to sit down and wait for the fog to clear is great. However, we know that there are spots in the trail where the fog never lifts, and small drops of water are forever dripping off everything and seeping into the ground. Waiting will get you no where. You have to keep walking or you'll never find sunlight again. There won't even be a chance of it. It seems we are as likely to simply walk off a cliff into oblivion as we are to bump into another hiker. But to give into the desires to sit and wait, is to simply parish in that spot alone. There is nothing else to do but to pick ourselves up and proceed carefully and hope for sunlight and companionship ahead on the trail.
Unfortunately life isn't like a journey novel. In a journey novel there always seems to be a task or 'adventure' that must be done. There are maps for tried and true paths, but I am not sure that they are always the 'right' path for everyone. Really we all seem to be wandering around. I know people who seem to really have that 'map' firmly in front of them and they just march down the trail to whatever fate awaits them. I can't do it, even when I am pretty sure I have a good map. I keep it there... it keeps me going in the right direction, but my map doesn't show just the one trail, like some people seem to have. My map has all KINDS of trails on it. Some are a thick black line, and some are twisty dotted lines most of them look to get to the same place I want to go. The ones that go some place I don't want to go I avoid. Then when I stand on the trail and actually look around, there are trees and flowers and so much beauty. I can see the deep worn trail that most people are walking down, but I am pretty sure it's not the right path (certainly not for me). However, the trails I think are right are faint and hard to follow and there are very few people taking those trails. In practice, even with the map in hand, it is hard to keep on the trail and easy to find oneself suddenly on some OTHER trail you didn't mean to get on (some of those trails are easier to walk). But if they don't get me to my destination what good is it?
Oh dear me, and it gets worse! Do I really have my destination figured out? How about the itinerary? What sites do I want to see on my journey? Where do I want to go and what do I hope to see and accomplish on the journey? It isn't like Gandalf is going to show up on my doorstep with a problem we need to solve. NOOoo.. I have to figure out my own journey. What about the fact that I am changing my mind on the itinerary every fifteen minutes? Gah!! I so completely see my life in the 'journey archetype'. Even with a destination figured out, and some basics down, there are a thousand different directions I could go to still get there. The tough thing is that the path I have chosen for the most part is through unmapped terrain, and there are very few people out here with me. Some times I cross paths with people and I could just change paths, I don't because it doesn't look like I'll get to my destination that way. And the farther I go into the terrain the fewer people I seem to cross paths with. It's lonely out here, the country is beautiful, but some places you just have to see to understand, and it isn't much fun looking at it all alone.
You might ask, what is your destination and how will you know it when you get there?
You see, I believe, the journey is our existance. It never ends, it just goes to another level. In this level of my journey the destination is the next world. It's really death from the world of will... this corporeal existence. So in my mind we all have the same destination, what differs is how we are when we get there. Did we pick up all the treasures and objects we will need for the next level? Did we get the 'key' that opens the hidden door? Do we have the stuff we need to embark on the next part? Some people don't acknowledge that there is another level after this corporeal one and they don't think about having the tools they'll need for the next step. Some people think that they'll just hit, 'game reset' and go through the same corporeal level again and again until they get it right. My belief is that we have one chance at this level of the journey, and we do the best we can, however unworthy the attempt might be, and then we move on to level two. I don't think you can ever play level one again.
I think I know what the tools are I'll need, but because I don't completely know or grasp the entire extent of the next level in the journey I can only hope that I am getting everything I need. And then I worry about stepping off that cliff into oblivion, which I also realize will get me immediately to the next level in the journey, however ill prepared I am. Gah!! How does one make every moment, every breath count? And yet find a way to enjoy life?!? It's a challenge, and I'm afraid that often I don't have it figured out.