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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.”

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