Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tracing Footsteps

I wondered how long could I trace the footsteps.
They were there in the sand for miles, across lands that would later be states and then called by proper names. But for now, it was just land.  Wide open land that crossed pine laden forests thick with owls and foxes and all the creatures that come with such dark mysterious places. 
I would cross myself out of habit, never for one moment believing help would be heaven sent- and after a pause, I entered the darkness of those trees, spooked as much by the unfamiliar sounds as by the lack of light.  My horse would move, sensing my hesitation, feeling the same shift in perception as shadows and the wild creatures of bedtime stories appeared before us dancing. 
Still now I wonder if it was the place where monsters and fairies and wizards were made, there in the darkness of sweet smelling pine. Was it there? Or was it the light- was it me? 
Let me pause as I laugh and reflect, reading the words I have written thus far. Such a mind I have, always trying to land on the truth when there is none. 
It was the darkness and the shapes created by light. It was I, the man upon the horse following the footsteps who saw them.
And they were there, as real as shadows and perceptions.  They played on the thick tree trunks of those mountain pines. I, who lost all bearing as the light vanished.  
Where I had been, where I was going, those thoughts left without a trace of memory, not a single remnant stuck to my boot.  Every rock and bough, every creature with flittering wings was intertwined with my story, and I with theirs.  Here to help or thwart my journey, I could not tell.
So we moved forward cautiously, tasting lightly the treats brought forward by the mountain creatures. The footsteps brought me to those mountains covered in pines and creatures with red and white spotted eyes and to the dwarf women with hair that trailed behind them like fine golden cloth and furry animals covered in stripes and the gold of kings.
The footsteps that had brought me thus far, those footsteps that had crossed the sand covered deserts and stone-fortified towns of the south, the places beyond common language and religion where I had been a foreigner, sometimes god and sometimes devil depending on the most recent tales spun around campfires in the night; those footsteps which I followed had left my mind as well, not just the ground. 
Sitting here now I wonder if I had ever seen them, had they ever truly been sunk into the mud or sand or was it just me again, looking for what I wanted, seeing what I needed? 
And again I laugh, perhaps all those things wrapped up in the leather armor of the young man on that land. That grand land shaped and etched in patterns as varied as the clouds.

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