The boat gently bumps into the shore, waking me from my slumber. I sit up, the fog not as thick as it once was. A smile creeps on my face as I disembark onto the shore, seeing a rough path ahead of me. It isn’t easy going, but I find that it doesn’t bother me.
Something feels right about this path. It’s unfamiliar, but it isn’t unsettling.
The fog that once acted as deterrent to the Journey now swirls around me, calling me, gently kissing my face, guiding me. There are footprints along the path – some new, some old. I find comfort knowing that I’m not the only one who has taken this route in the Journey and can’t help but wonder what their stories are.
What brought us here?
What continues to guide us along the path?
What are our desires, our dreams?
What did we lose to go on this Journey?
What did we gain?
The fog becomes thinner and thinner the further I go until I find myself in a meadow lit by sunlight. The surface of a pond reflects the sun, sparkling like the clearest sapphire I’ve ever seen. Flowers of every color dot the area, painting the ground with their beauty.
And, sitting at the pond’s edge, is a familiar figure in a gray cloak.
The Pilgrim looks over their shoulder and grins, beckoning me to join them at the edge. I sit down and we sit in silence for a long moment.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” I say.
They chuckle. “I had sense you would arrive here one day.”
“It took me a long time.”
The Pilgrim shakes their head. “A Pilgrim is never late, Expert. They arrive precisely where they’re supposed to be whenthey are meant to be there.”
I laugh. “Perhaps.”
We sit in silence again, soaking in the warmth of the sunlight. It’s a moment of serenity, one of rest and tranquility and beauty.
There is a moment of contentment, of knowing that this unfamiliar place is where I was supposed to be.
But also the realization that it wouldn’t last.
The Pilgrim gives me a knowing look before standing up.
“Where are you going?” I ask.
They shrug. “I don’t know.”
“Is there a Destination the Pilgrim longs for?”
They pause, turning the question over in their mind. “There is always a Destination, but there is always another that follows after.”
“So the Journey never ends?”
“Only when we stop dreaming.”
I stare at my reflection in the pond, seeing how much I’ve changed. I don’t recognize myself anymore; my clothing is torn and worn in place; my hair is unkempt. But there’s something I see that I haven’t seen in a long time.
I smile and stand, looking the Pilgrim in the eye. “Shall we?”
They nod, a grin splitting their face.
Where are we going? We can only dream.
Will we always be together? Who can say.
Together, we leave the meadow, stepping back into the familiar unfamiliarity of the fog.
Together, we take the most important step.
Together, we continue the Journey.