Maral stood at the mouth of the path which would lead away from everything she knew. She took her first step, but the heavy weight of the knowledge that she would be alone made her pause. No one else saw the image of the hazy, unknown city. They would remain in the comfort of the known.
She thought about all the wonderful aspects of her life. She was needed here, no one could deal with the invasive vines as well as she could. She had been the pioneer of fire-dwelling and wanted to know what would happen with it. But there was now a discontentment coating all things usual. It was pushing her to begin her journey.
For weeks, she had, daily, hoisted on her massive pack and stood on the path. However, each time, she would she remember something she needed to do- or someone she wanted to speak with- or one last hug to give and receive.
But today would be the day; she would begin, Maral took an uncomfortable step forward. Her pack was just too heavy, and her legs felt like lead. Discouraged, she sat down. As she sat she realized the image of the hazy city was gone. She also realized that she hadn’t been in the fire in a very long, time so busy she had been in preparing for her journey. Had she waited too long? Had her adventure opportunity passed her by?
She stumbled to the location of the fire. Dropping her pack, she stepped in. Immediately all the weight, the burden, the anxiety, the fear evaporated. She relaxed and breathed in the good smell of the presence of the fire.
After being still a long moment, the image of the unknown city returned. Here in the fire, Maral was able to clearly see her next steps. She would unload the pack and make it a manageable weight. If she left something behind that was required, she would trust that it could be found along the way, or she could do without it.
She noticed her boots were covered with invasive vines. They didn’t want her to go. Sometime in her delay they had crept up, making movement difficult. She carefully coaxed them off. She cared for them, but they would have to remain in the forest.
The sacrifice of the little vines gave her a gift, the ability to understand something that had been long forgotten, the sacred eternal language. She spoke an unfamiliar word. It sounded weird and powerful. When she drew in breath the fire entered her lungs. Alarmed, she jumped to her feet but found she was fine, better than fine. She felt equipped.