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.