A bell in the distance is always a bell and not yet a death knell as you grasp brambles and branches for a ration of natural guidance and consent to a series of red streaks they grant as stigmata on your forearms and hands.
You are not an abandoned spirit, rather one of many pilgrims who follow a related road, a path scratched on a map with sticks and hard blood that carries you to another garden door.
You know your destination. It’s rested and waited behind your eyes since the day you forever clubbed a rodent out of its lakeshore world to prove your child worth and fled sobbing into the arms of contrition.
It’s over there, surrounded by innocent hills, cleansing the earth, where rain is the harbinger of piscine rivers and your quench of thirst, free of crusades you so carried into your diurnal light, a corner of the world that caretakes your beliefs and awaits you.
Listen to twigs crack their broken breath beneath you in one step after another to a reunion of friends and family who have flowed with you on the way. You can hear the echoes of their existence in the ripples when you let go your implacable future and hold tight your present and past.
These are not the fury days when you dragged a cart of war behind you. These are not the years that disappeared into smoke. Look to your left and to your right. There are passages that lead to madness and others that escort to grace. Each may guide you.
Ask yourself if you had been a lesser person would the world have granted you the strength to face the anguish of companions buried under battles or the humility to see the flawed mirror in the morning when clouds veer their course to let you view the sky and all its realms of eagles.
See the vessel that awaits you in the swirls and eddies when you reach the final lake. See the village that runs down from the hillside to satisfy its thirst. This is your crossing. These are currents that bend your path to the other shore. But stay a while more. Wait here and watch the world of ascendant dawn again. It is both fearful and astonishing, this great contradiction of rocks and rose petals upon which you walk.