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Fireflies-A journey


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Ten years ago, I would have been frozen in place. Unable to move under a mountain of pressure. I stayed in the same place for so long, the magic just out of reach of my fingertips.

But not anymore.

Over the years that mountain has been crumbling. The ground beneath my feet shakes, changing the landscape with each rumble. I've been picking it up piece by piece as it reaches my feet. Sorting through each piece, keeping what's helpful, tossing what isn't when I can, and putting everything I keep in my backpack. I inch upward moment by moment, sometimes full of energy, sometimes cautious or tired.

Sometimes it's a steep climb, sometimes it's a smooth path. Sometimes I know which way to go, sometimes I get turned around. I keep somehow getting higher, though, even with those wrong turns. I’d found my way, somehow, in the right direction eventually. Magic.

I've had to make paths in the moment and fight my way through.  Sometimes the path is so narrow I have to hold my breath as I put one foot in front of another, praying I won’t lose my balance now. I know from experience how much a fall can hurt.

There are rest stops along this mountain, though, and there I meet the people. I share the tidbits I've brought with me, and some people even travel with me for a time, and we teach each other. Most I've needed to leave behind. Their paths upward take a different route than mine, but no doubt I'll see them again one day, at higher summits.

I like to leave carvings in trees for people who are just below me on the path, who haven't quite reached my height yet. Leave them messages of encouragement and arrows for the way. No doubt we'll meet soon.

Others have left arrows and words of encouragement for me. The proof that I'm not the only one to have walked this path is shown all around me, by what's been left for me and others.

I've picked up walking sticks left at steep inclines by others for use and left them at the bottom of the next because my legs were strong enough this time and I had the energy to carry myself. There's always another walking stick when I need it, I've learned.

Sometimes all I need is the hand of my traveling partner to help me up, even if I don't need it. We all just help each other while we can, for as long as we can.

Cairns litter the landscape at every turn. Some I've had to build myself on the way, after taking shelter from a storm and using it to process any destruction caused. Some I built for people who are still alive, but I know it's unlikely our paths will cross again. Some I built for hope and beauty, for the next traveler to share in, just like those built before me that I've stopped to admire. To gain strength from. This is how I know there is magic.

I’ve been taking pieces from the backpack I’ve carried all this time, some I use to build, some I drop at the feet of others. It belonged to them, after all, and I was done carrying it for them.

I can’t say my backpack has only necessity, or that it must be as heavy as it is, but I still have higher summits to reach. As long as I am alive and moving, there is opportunity to adjust and lay down what isn’t mine. Sometimes, you just aren’t ready yet, and that’s okay. There are stray pieces strewn beside the path all the way up so far from others who would no longer carry them at any given time, including when they were just ready to let go.

Others tell me the mountain isn’t a mountain anymore for them, and that gives me hope. They describe magic that I’ve experienced, too, at some points. But, sometimes I still slip as pieces beneath my feet crumble. Sometimes my mountain isn’t entirely stable. I’ve been caught in rockslides caused by other people and nature alike. Others have come back for me, and I’ve went back for others. I’ve found shortcuts back up or down, and I wonder if perhaps they’d been there the entire time, but I’d been focused forward instead of all around.

It's not uncommon for me to hit peaks of fog, completely alone, or at least that is how it feels. It sometimes takes a while for me to see the flashing green lights of the fireflies on the other side, signaling the way out. I thank the Universe for the help and wonder how many others it will help and has helped already. This journey was full of magic, after all.

There is always an option to become a permanent resident of one of the weigh stops. Others would happily welcome you in their tribes, but there are those with magnetic hands that pull you in and you’re stuck for a while. Self-worth is the polarity here that gets us free, and eventually, repels us from them entirely if we choose it. If we choose not to stay.

I’m not seeing the fireflies yet. I’m at one of those hazy peaks, my eyes closed, just taking inventory. I may be afraid to move for a moment, in fear I’ll walk off an edge I can’t see, but if I close my eyes long enough, the fireflies will come.

When I ask them, they will come, and my journey continues.

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