The wet leaves piled high in places blanketed the path. And like the pain and exhaustion she endured, they pulled and tangled at her feet slowing her. She had to stop often to catch her breath… and find her will. Or what little remained.
It was hard… sometimes so hard because it seemed what she felt would never end… it would never end.
The pile of the dead at her feet and before her on the path were things that once lived so high, almost to touch the sky. They were now red, yellow and brown carcasses strewn on the ground. Head still down, she looked at the vines that started under the dead leaves lying before her. Following the green of their winding on the trees that lined the path brought her eyes up, climbing their height as the vines did. They were life; growing infinitesimally and breathing as she looked at them. And as her head lifted, she saw in the distance an opening through the trees at the crest of the hill she’d labored to climb but was only halfway there.
There the trees and dense underbrush cleared, giving the nearly buried and hidden path room to breathe… to let her pass more easily. Something was there just over the rise. Something that called and kept her moving. A thought. A dream. Someone she loved. It was all there in the light.
The tears she’d cried in the past could not be undone. But those almost breaking free at that moment when she was tired, oh so tired… those could be held back. Not to flow on this day. Because as she followed the light she knew, somehow, somewhere, she was loved, and people cared for her. It was for them she kept going.
The heaviness of each step lightened just enough, and she believed in the goodness of her soul she could make it further. A step at a time. A day at a time.
Toward her life and the light.