Every journey has familiar side-paths and road-side distractions. Mine seems to have rickety old signs, labeled regret, or doubt, or emptiness, half falling off the posts and swaying in the wind. Their screeching catches my attention as I try to move past them, calling me like some ancient siren to veer off into the past, into memories that lead down slick muddy slopes to an old cave called grief. A place I have visited too many times for too many reasons.
There is a way out, but it is through the darkness, traversing uneven rocky ground, over which there is no trail. I find myself tripping and colliding with the rough sided walls, scraping and wounding my skin over and over again, as I protect my head and my heart from bruising and bashing. Sometimes there are judgmental and condemning voices trying to stop me, or worse, lead me down a dead-end tunnel. But I have learned that there is light and warmth and love if I just keep moving forward into the present.
And suddenly, there I am, gazing at a crystal clear blue sky, light reflecting off a shimmering white coating of snow high on a mountain, with a chill air awakening within me a sense of delight and wonder. I am not trapped in old stories or repeating refrains, my life is not a series of variations on a theme. My life is a path that I carve through fresh fallen snow, creating tracks that no one else has traversed. And even if I happened to make a wrong turn again I will remind myself that none of those places are real. They are empty memories that hold no power over me.