Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Once, when I was a young man, I knew the path to fulfilment would parallel the road less traveled. But fulfillment wasn't what I was after. At least I did not think that was what I was seeking. Nevertheless, those who had traveled that road called to me to follow. They knew me better than I knew myself. Or maybe that's just my wish now, my hope that I might have been better than ever I was.

That road, though, was littered with the corpses of unfunded travel, unbuilt houses, ungaraged cars, and unspoken compliments at all of those unattained things.

So I took a different route.

I took the road that would lead to largess. But I never felt entirely comfortable on that road, so I stayed safely on the shoulder, where my unease would be shielded from the stares of those who sped along the highway and where my conscience would not be so thoroughly out of place. As I was busy hiding from the prying eyes of those who were disappointed at my failure to fully embrace the philosophies that powered the race, I failed to see the disappointment in the eyes of those I'd left to make the lonely trek along that other, less traveled road. It wasn't just disappointment in their eyes, I now realize. It was contempt.

Somewhere along the way, I ran into roadblocks. I tried to run through them or over them, but I hadn't developed sufficient speed. All I did was ruin the undercarriage of the vehicle and slow my progress toward the destination. But I kept trying. I got out and pushed, from time to time, and I made some progress. The closer I got to the destination, though, the harder it was to see. A haze thickened around it. The light was blocked and I could barely make out what once had been, if not brilliant, at least bright. I thought it was bright. Wasn't it bright, before?

As the long journey along the shoulder of that well-traveled road neared the end, I found that the largess I'd been seeking had been damaged in transit. The haze had been caused by the smoldering oil-soaked rags that had been used to tie its broken pieces together. Others around me still clung to the shiny pieces that had been thrown off before the smoldering began. And they seemed to worship them. But I didn't like the looks of largess anymore. Yet when I turned around, hoping to trudge back down that road to the one less traveled, I found that those who would have been my traveling companions had long since completed their journeys. They had attained what I did not even realize we were seeking. And they were no longer willing to share the spoils of the trip. Their contempt at my abandonment of the path was complete.

You forgive a friend, but I was no longer a friend.

And so here I am, a lifetime and a universe and an experience away from the destinations that were so attractive those many years ago. The destination, as it turned out, did not really matter, for it is illusory. But somehow the journey has gone missing and I'm afraid it may be lost.

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