Beyond the warm and friendly house

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The travelers journey done he rested for a time in the cabin at the edge of the woods perched on the side of the mountain above the valley so verdant and lush.

One day outside the cabin, tending the garden that gave so many great meals the man came up to the traveler.

“Each of us” the man said “is filled with two beings. The being within us that seeks forever to know what is on the other side of the hill and within us that is the rolling stone. The other half of us is the lichen, clinging to the spot where it is. In each case the other half desires what the half it is not has. Which one calls to you now, loudest?”

The traveler looked puzzled for a moment as he listened to the inner battle that was raging within him. Stay or go. He heard the voices over and over until finally he heard only the voice saying go. He looked at the man and said “the voice that says go.”

“Then you must go.” The man said “but first you have been here for a time and have given us much joy and laughter. For this we are obligated to give you a gift. Each of us has something for your journey. For once you leave this mountain side you will never be able to find this cabin again. This cabin perched on the mountain at the edge of the forest represents the resting place all of us seek. But once released can never be found again.”

The traveler nodded in understanding. His voice was not to stay. His voice was to go. “I understand and I must go.” the traveler said. In the corner of his eye and tiny tear began to form.

“You will be missed.” The child said as she hugged the traveler. “I give you light” she continued, handing him a stick that glowed. “with understanding you will never be in the dark.”

The woman came and hugged him as well. “I give you this bread that you will never be hungry on the road.” She and the child went back into the cabin.

“My gift unfolds differently” the man said. “For a time I will travel with you on your journey so that you are not alone. I can only go so far as a companion on your journey and when that time is done I will leave you this,” he said holding out his walking stick. “This walking stick will guide your feet on the journey your heart has chosen.”

Without another word they began walking on the path that led anywhere but back to the cabin. Within minutes the cabin was no longer in sight and then eventually even the smoke was gone. When they reached the woods the man handed the traveler the walking stick and smiling began walking back along the trail. As he walked the travel saw the trail he was on disappear behind him. As he came to a bend that had not been there before the man turned to the traveler and said “Remember there are two beings inside you, listen to your heart and know when it is time to stay. All journey’s must come to an end, but that is the beginning as well.”

“I will” the traveler said. And as those words echoed on the mountainside the man disappeared.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow