Steps

It was time to go. I’m not sure what prompted this. I was as popular as ice cream, I had lots of friends. I oozed confidence and possessed youthful energy more powerful than the sun. I took a step anyway.

It was a new place with lots of brick buildings connected by concrete paths that took me to social awareness. I met new friends; just as cool as the ones I had left. We were as smart as we were unwise. An interesting combination that yielded mostly joy. We celebrated nothing and everything. We played like careless fools. We shared secrets we didn’t know we had. We fell in and out of love easily. Regrets did not exist nor did a cloud in the future. Time for another step.

I met serious people. Celebrations were fewer with more meaning. Love became more difficult yet more rewarding. Life had compartments. One with accolades, fancier clothes, and newer cars. This one motivated; rewarded materially. Another had life-purpose relationships; lasting, ones to savor, celebrated by milestones symbolized with cake or ceremony or newborns. Satisfying. Onto the next step.

I lost smarts and gained wisdom. Whims were less frequent and more calculated. I took many small steps at this stage. I found dragons on the water, a wall that could be seen from space, temples with beheaded statues, cities with rivers for streets. Obelisks, Mosques, a Leaning Tower, an Opera House in a picturesque harbor even a Forbidden City. I stepped into these places and met people, all intriguing, all with differing histories yet all rooted in the same Earth.

I saw complexity, differences in appearances and experiences. Integrity coexisting with amorality. Compassion, anger, acts of kindness, abject hatred, squalor, opulence. I heard opinions, strange words with deep meanings, laughter that sounded the same in any language. I saw tears and years that flowed alike on different size and color faces. A universal diversity. Bizarre, amazing, baffling and satisfying. Flavors that stimulated like new discoveries. Exotic yet simple when viewed through the widest lens.

A new step must follow.

I had gone back. It was dissimilar but the same. There were old friends and new acquaintances, but shallow were these. I left behind the better clothes and amazing experiences. I carried nothing from previous steps. Some intentional, some receding memories. Mediocre, untouchable, disinterested. Routine supplanted what remained of whimsy. A shell formed. I couldn’t stop it. There were no celebrations. No accolades. No cakes or new life. New was no more. Smart and wisdom were dormant. I did not know despair until it grabbed me by the throat. Dark clouds were everywhere. I needed another step.

A gate unlocked and swung open and I walked out of the graveyard. The sun returned as did awareness. The interesting people were back. There to celebrate, share and laugh. Love became abundant. I was more wise than smart. I judged less and tolerated more. Inner calm over anger. The people of the past and present were alike: meaningful.

I took many steps and have many more to take.

I can’t wait.


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