This post was originally written on my old blog on Thursday, March 15, 2012. It describes some of my time in The Forest that I’ve mentioned here before. While I might not agree with everything at the end here, the details of my time in The Forest are the focus here.
With bloodstained feet rubbed raw from tripping over stones and bramble, I make my way through the darkness. Dusty fingers brush against rough tree trunks, groping in the shadows for a way back. Shuffling along, no quicker to avoid stumbling, the way is shrouded. My foot hits an ill-placed stone and I stumble to my knees, then forward, collapsed in the dusty soil stained with snow and ice. I lay here, eyes closed despite the darkness, and wish for an end, a way out, anything but this fruitless searching in the cold depths of winter forest.
Time passes. A wintry wind rips through tree branches shorn of their leaves long ago, and still I lay there.
I do not know how long I lay, cold and wishing against the darkness. Some time passes and I am alone with nothing but my thoughts beating against the echoes of my skull.
Time passes, but something changes. A dull warmth starts beneath my breastbone, the same place where I wrenched out the rope. It takes me awhile to realize what it is – a tiny flame in the depths fighting against the darkness.
Slowly, I dig my fingers into the soil and feel the dusty shell crack beneath my hands to the damp loam beneath. My knees dampen as I sit up, spine slowly straightening. I close my eyes against the darkness and plunge my hand beneath my chest and drag out the flame. Fire dances ’round my hand as I grope for the lantern I dropped when I fell. I watch the candle take light greedily, burning brighter than the flame I drew out. It is still dim, still greedy and hungry, but it is something.
It takes my eyes awhile to readjust to the dim light now casting shadows among the trees. Eventually I rise and take a step forward, relishing in the feeling of sweet, rich earth beneath my feet as I once more begin to make my way back to the Path.
I do not walk this Path for power, I do not walk this Path for greed. I do not walk this Path for fear nor love. I do not walk this Path for you or none other.
I walk this Path because even in the darkest times, I feel the need to step one foot in front of the other, to feel the earth crack beneath the soles of my feet and awaken.
I walk this Path because even in my darkest hour, it is all I can think of.
I walk this Path because long ago, for whatever reason, something marked me. I can still feel the stain upon me, marking my brow so that none may call claim to me but that which already has me.
I walk this Path because I know nothing else will light the fire in my soul and make me whole again.
I walk this Path because the Old Gods have grown tired of waiting. I walk this Path for them, for me, for the ones who have been forgotten, names and faces, temples and shrines now lost to the seas of humanity, but once more taking root in the world, as ones like you and I awaken the spark deep within us, the one that mankind once held long ago so dear.
I walk this Path because that is why I am here.