a single step

all journeys begin with a single step,

leaving where you are and moving

with fear-filled hopefulness 

toward something beyond

the limits of your current perspective and station.

your boots contain courage in motion

as you traverse terrain 

that seems to mirror 

the landscape of your heart.

fellow travelers, whose faces,

weathered with grief 

and surrender, recognize you

as one of their own,

welcome you into the warm hearth

of their earnest longings 

and encourage you to take off your heavy pack 

of self doubt and unrealized dreams.

around the fire of your shared humanity

you raise a glass to the present moment, 

to being at home in the world,

to seeing in the eyes of this stranger 

a host who has been expecting your arrival.

present in the food, wine, and laughter

your mind and heart is also ahead of you 

as you anticipate your westward journey

with the rising sun at your back.

with each melodic, monotonous step

you become more and more yourself.

though you carry everything on your back,

you become lighter on the way

to the place where this pilgrim path ends,

where the goddess in the watery depths

receives with open arms 

sacrifices too significant to name

and bestows upon your weary heart

the rebirth of an inner spring,

even as the leaves begin their own descent 

upon your return.

Krister White