Considering Two Paths in the Wilderness
by Eve West Bessier
One path travels through the lowland meadows
where larks dart and swallows dip.
Here the creek meanders like a daydream
and glints in sun like an afterthought.
Here the oaks shelter and the willows sweep
the amber grasses with their long tendrils of green.
The sky is lightly clouded, the sun hazy.
The meadow edges are lined with conifers
that flute quietly in an autumn wind as if
recalling lost loves in distant lands.
The other path leads up the side of a mountain
over granite rocks, along ledges exposed
to a view of the world, expansive and breathtaking.
This way is winding and always upward
under the fleeting shadows of hawk wings
and a sky filling with cumulous clouds,
the promise of thunder, lightning, rain.
There are puzzle-barked Ponderosa and quaking aspen.
The air smells like imagination, bright, vigorous.
There are waterfalls and icy lakes of onyx water.
At the summit, there will be a glimpse of heaven
in the height and freedom of seeing eye to eye with eagles.
Both paths are worth the travel, both feed the soul.
To travel exclusively the meadow path
is to gain insight through tranquility and repose,
to commune with the contemplative aspects of nature,
your own and those of the landscape, but never to know
the thrill of stepping beyond your bounds,
of discovering that you are far larger than you dreamed.
To travel exclusively the mountain path
is to build fortitude and perseverance through courage,
to commune with the fiercer aspects of nature,
your own and those of the landscape, but always to grasp
challenge too readily and rest infrequently in whimsy.
It is to strive always higher than your current reach,
and when achieving the heavenly summit, the eagle’s view,
to find no repose in success or beauty, all too quickly seeking
another, even loftier goal for an appetite unquenched.
To travel both paths well
with conscious intention,
with neither lust nor lethargy,
allows the beauty and meaning of each to resonate,
and the heart to find the journeying joyous,
both patience and diligence rewarded
with equal measure of satisfaction.
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"Considering Two Paths in the Wilderness" was first published in Physik Room, Poetry Garden.