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Father’s Footsteps

The young man followed the same trail between two mountains for the greater part of the day. He seemed none closer to the goal on the distant mountain.

“Where are you when I need you my old friend? This is an impossible journey, I would value your opinion right now.”

Halting, he cocked his head to the left and listened. Apart from the gentle shush of the wind blowing through dry grasses, over shale and between antediluvian rocks, there was nothing to hear. The young man resumed the journey trodden by familial generations of men.

“You are tired my young friend, rest on this rock.”

Looking for the voice, the young man miscalculated a step and fell headlong toward the seat. Not a seat but impeccably carved by the ever-transmuting direction of the winds into something that looked comfortable. He brushed himself down, sucking snow and grit from a graze on his palm.

“That hurt! You surprised me. Where were you when I called?”

The timbre of the old man’s voice was wondrous to hear. Opulent and full of expression, overflowing with love.

“I worried when you didn’t answer.”

“Why? You know who I am and that I will never leave.”

The younger man paused, taking deep breaths, slowing thoughts, easing worries.

“This is an arduous path my friend. What brought you here?”

“Oh, generations of forebears have followed this path. It is expected that I do the same.”

“You don’t sound thrilled with this quest young man.”

“Thrilled or not, It’s the path I must follow.”

“Then why call me? Decision made, the path clear. There is nothing I can offer.”

“The goal at the end of this path seems farther away. I’ve been walking constantly and making no headway.”

“Are you certain this path is yours to follow?”

“I know the route by heart. My father taught it as soon as I understood his words.”

“This is his path and his ancestors. If they followed their true paths.”

“If I don’t do this, the business will fail. Years of hard work, lost.”

“So, find a buyer. There is an alternative route to the mountain over there just beneath this ridge to the left. You won’t be walking in your father’s footsteps but close enough to consider his experience.”

The wind changed, the young man stood. With the new wind following, he smiled at his father and felt the exhilaration of the emerging route turn in his stomach.

Is This Love?

“Do you know what love is?”

“Yes, I believe I do.” The young man sounded confident when he answered his old friend. They sat near the summit of a desert mountain.

“Very well; give me your definition of love.”

“It is an intense feeling of affection toward other human beings. True love is about accepting their individuality.”

“But what about you my young friend? What’s in it for you?”

“Loving is payment enough; if any payment is necessary.”

“But if you love somebody, should they not return the love?”

“I love many people in different ways. Some are unaware that I love them. Therefore, they cannot return my love, nor would I expect it.”

“Where do you think this begins?”

“Love is preinstalled. None arrive on this planet without it. It’s said the universe vibrates to the frequency of love.”

“So why do humans fight my friend?”

“Our birth families follow religious practices and ascribe to particular beliefs. Some follow none. We mimic their ways and the world outside. To be better, do better. We become part of a great race and forget the one truth. You have taught me these things my old friend.”

“I tell you only what is. What about those who harm others because of the beliefs they love?”

“You cannot love a belief, only another living creature. But sometimes, people love others because their lives have led them to identify with harmful beliefs.”

“Yes my  young friend, the mind is like a glass of water. Mix in the beliefs of society, agitate and it becomes difficult to see. Leave it to settle and all becomes clear.”

“That’s why this desert solitude is so special. Here I connect with the truth, nothing here reminds me of those things that bring pain and hate to the world.”

“You love this place?”

“Because it reminds me of love.”

Walking in The Forest

The young man couldn’t hear the voice of his old friend calling through the trees. It took a lot of calling and listening before they met in a glade near a pool of clear water and sat together on a log at the waters’ edge.

“There are many obstacles on your path my young friend. So many that you are unable to see the wood for the trees.”

The younger man laughed. “That’s a familiar saying.”

“Yes, and it describes your current predicament perfectly.”

“I wasn’t aware that I have any predicaments.”

“If there are belongings in your life stopping you from moving forward; you have predicaments. The trees are symbolic of the things you have allowed to get in the way. Deal with them and cut down the trees.”

“That sounds so simple. How can I throw things away that prey on my mind?”

“Are those things current and of value?”

“There is one thing from the past that returns and haunts me.”

“Does it relate to current events?”

“No, not that I can see. But when it happened, it aroused painful feelings and challenged my beliefs.”

“Did you have any power to change this event or alter the outcome?”

“No, because it related to a decision and action by somebody else. I would not have done the same.”

He looked at his image in the pools mirror and from the corner of his left eye, noticed a small waterfall softly tumbling between age worn rocks. Ripples rolled slowly across, distorting his image.

“Let’s say you had the power to alter that event. How would life be now if you had?”

“My path would have taken a very different route.”

“Imagine you are tumbling in the waterfall over there. If I move a rock your course will alter but you will still end up in the pool. If you manage a handhold, you will tire eventually, and the result will be the same.

I changed the course of the water. There was nothing you could do about it. You ended up in the pool.

So, finally, would it not be appropriate to take what you learned from that event, leave what you don’t need and, cut down the tree?”

The image of the young man cleared between ripples, he looked across at his old friend.

“I don’t like that you are right but, you are. That tree is on the log-pile.”

The friends smiled at one another before going their separate ways.

Angry Mountain

“What are you doing my young friend?”

“Is it not obvious?”

“You are spending considerable energy striking the ground with that shovel. You remind me of an angry mountain about to erupt. Come, sit with me, the garden looks stunning; many varieties of flower sharing one space.”

Slowly, the thuds of the shovel ceased. The young man looked exhausted.

What took you to the point of venting anger on the beloved earth?

“A neighbor.”

“Once again, earthly troubles placed at a neighbors’ door. What did she do?

“She doesn’t get involved except to calm his anger. He is unreasonable, his anger boils when things don’t go his way.”

“Tell me about him.”

“There’s not much to say. He occasionally lives in the house next door. I have no problem with that but wonder if that’s where his lies. He told me about things he’s had; property he owns and how wealthy he is.

When they visit, he expects life to stop accommodate his. It’s like the lord of the manor has arrived.”

The old man laughed to himself and stepped into the flowers.

“See how they move when I walk among them. Nothing I do halts their progress unless I step on one or pull it from the ground. All they need are minerals from the earth, water, air and sunlight. Humans are similar; each have basic needs but perceived unmet, they reach out and search.

Some have more than they need and want more. They don’t wish to see somebody better-off so, they collect and hoard. Do you remember our talk about competition?”

“Where does the anger of one man connect to that?”

“Something in his past has brought about insecurity. He needs to eclipse everybody’s sun because he’s jealous of their daylight. He compares himself to others and sees them as his competition.

Possibly developed from one instance in his life but allowed to go unchecked, it has grown out of proportion. “

“I understand and relate although I don’t identify with anger. I once found myself in a loveless relationship and didn’t realise I substituted it with ‘things.’  Nice cars, holidays, clothes . . . “

“You still do that my friend. Did anybody ever say, ‘be better, do better . . . ‘“?

The young man laughed without humor. “It is a mantra echoing around my mind since my early years.”

“The man next door brings challenges to your ego which reminds you of the mantra. Push it aside my friend and forget about the neighbor. Friendship is not an option so, blow him away with a tender heart like you would a dandelion clock.

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