"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
I’m persevering through this steady, upward climb. It’s a straight and narrow path, with more twists and obstacles than I’ve come prepared for. “You’re being set apart,” my guides say with weighed assurance. “Reaching the next peak is never an easy journey.” I nod in strained agreement, but find the ascension into greatness a bit more than I can handle. Former allies meet me on my way with gritted teeth that expose jagged grins and acidic words. When did friends become adversaries? Is this change of character recently acquired, or was I swayed long ago by attractive masks they wore?
On this course, my focus must never be pulled from the trail before me. Distractions tantalize me from my peripheral vision, and I stumble every time I turn my head to stare. I’m a weary traveler, and each step takes more determination than the one before it. The end feels no closer than it did ten miles before, and alternate paths flash at me like gaudy neon lights on the Vegas strip. How does one not get sidetracked on such a single-minded mission? Especially when the aligning forestry offers up both gratification and liberation from this longsuffering I endure.
Yet, despite their initial tantalization, I am not so enticed by these temptations. I have an assignment to complete, and a mountain to conquer. I promised my maker I would not waste time peering over my shoulder. I will not stop to lick my wounds, or drift around in my current surroundings. It is upwards and onwards, until I can no longer sense the burning in my thighs that escalating hikes are so notorious for.
I do not trek without aid, but sometimes I am lonely. Won’t you be my walking stick?