I come to the edge of a beautiful valley. To the left I see a small village. Looking out of the windows, I see people waving there hands beckoning me to come visit them and hear what they have to say. Turning my head to the right I see a few house here and there and a few more people beckoning me to come for a visit. On the other side of the town is a small river that is gently flowing over the rocks, under logs, and around bends in its stream bed. There is a bridge that stretches across the river. I walk up to the edge of the river where I see a hill covered with trails leading seeming everywhere and yet at the same time nowhere. Behind the hill I see more hills that slowly climb up into the clouds.
I find a rock on the river bank and sit down. This is the same village, the same hill, and even the same people I have seen countless times along my journey. I stare at the hill side and all its paths, when a rattling sounds catches my attention. Suddenly a train speeds by. I let out a sigh, knowing that train has found its way and is heading to its destination and yet here I am still lost, confused and alone.
I look behind me and see the steep path I had just came down after passing through the last valley. As I look back I am forced to wonder am I better off now then I was then, have I grown any closer to my destination, am I any farther away from it.
Something on the hill catches my eye. Is it just fog, a mirage or even a figment of my imagination? I look longer and realize its a girl, a woman, maybe even the answers to my prayers. As I stare, its almost like we become face to face. She seems to tell me to trust her and she will help me find my way. That she will wonder the wilderness with me and help me stay on the right trail.
I jump as something or someone taps me on the shoulder. I turn around and see an elder monk. He leans down and whispers into my ear “believe in what your heart is saying, in what you feel inside you, give your dreams the wings to fly as you have everything it takes, now if you will only just believe”. And then he was gone.
What is going on! This is nothing like the last village. Something is so strange here.
I start running around, going nowhere and yet going everywhere. Out of each window there is someone who shouts at me “just believe”.
My feet carry me out of the village, across the bridge, beyond the train tracks, and up the hill. I turn around and look at the village I just left, and it is not there. My knees buckle and I fall to the ground. I blink for a second, or was it a minute, a hour or even a day. When I open my eyes there she is that woman I saw from so far away that yet seemed so close. She leans down to me, kisses me on the forehead and asks “do you believe now?” I nod my head. She takes my hand and we continue along the trail still lost, still confused, but no longer alone. I wonder what I will find in the next valley, in the next village...
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Cub Scouts from Redlands Pack 31 (left to right) Bryson Miles, Luca Smith, Mikki Wolfgramm with leader and Highland firefighter Bennet Milloy visit Editor Charles Roberts (seated) at the Highland...