Sunday, October 3, 2010

Which Way To

I came upon two roads. I had heard that they lead to cities of similar comforts that could keep me well for the rest of this life. I would like a city....


The one road was packed dirt with some pebbles appearing here and there. It was lined with things lush and green. I could hear the beautiful singing of birds. In the air was no hint of foulness. Indeed, I smelled morning flowers and dew.

I touched the ground with my toe and then dragged a line from right to left. The path was sturdy yet soft enough to go barefoot if I liked.

I saw a strange fruit within my reach so I took it and bit into it. To tell the truth, I ate the whole thing, all but the seed. The flesh was sweet; the texture appeasing. I saw another fruit and tasted it also. It wasn’t as sweet as the first but it was just as satisfying. I thought I saw more fruit ahead.

Farther on up the road, the way went up a short hill and then dropped off. Beyond the hill, mountains stood as strong, silent guards. Between two mountains was a sparkling phenomenon. I couldn’t tell if it was a body of water or the lights of the city or …well, or what exactly. Could anything shining that lively be terrible?

I didn't know why I should suspect the light but I thought I might.


The other road seemed very sparse and neat. About a mile down, I saw what looked like food, though of what kind I couldn’t make out. The sound was of a gentle breeze and yes, I could feel its coolness as well. There was a swirling up ahead of oddities. The wind must be stronger there, for when I focused better I could see it dance and glide, over and around the path; I thought it might be moving in a pattern, but I couldn’t be sure.

I touched the surface of the road with my toe, making another sweep with my foot as I had before. It was oddly cold. I thought I might not like this way if the whole way was this cool, or perhaps my steps would be warm enough if I kept a brisk pace. The path was smooth to a high polish; my foot coverings would probably make the going slower. I should go by bare feet. Then I thought what if the smoothness of the path and the strength of the wind frighten me from movement.

And was I thinking too much?

I looked as far ahead as I could, though I couldn’t tell much. It was either rainclouds or more wind at play that I was seeing, I figured. I didn’t see much by way of hills or valleys. I saw a sparkling to the side, not as bright as that from the first view, and this one was of another color, but it was just as intriguing. I felt that it was pulsing, vibrating. Yes, I could feel it, very strange.

The sparkling had a glowing companion a little ways from it. The glowing moved more like a flickering flame maybe. I wondered if it was warming like fire or untamed and burning. My intuition said it's most likely the former.


I stood at the head of the paths, not knowing which way to go. One looked easy but possibly deceiving; the other would be tricky but possibly promising. It seemed that by the time I had walked far enough to be sure of the way, I would be a long way gone; I shouldn’t like to go down one and change my mind.

Or I could always turn back now. Or I could make my own way through the rough. Or I could set up camp here.

I think I’ve made my mind. I straightened my posture, took a breath, lifted my foot, and…