Wandering Monk: The Dark Road

This was an unfamiliar path that he walked on now.

On his long journey he had seen many roads. All were different in some way – some were paved and some were not. Some had bushes or trees lining the sides. On some you could see the great plains where the sky met the earth at the horizon. Some of them were crowded with people going this way or the other, some were empty and there wasn’t a soul in sight – sometimes he seemed to walk on roads that no one had ever walked on. He even remembered those few roads where someone had walked with him. And he remembered that some roads have a fork. Some of his traveling companions had chosen the other road.

In some way, however, every road that he walked was the same – it took him closer to his destination and each road was an experience that enriched his journey. There was never a road that stopped him – each one of them had urged him to walk on. He always felt something new about every road. And he always felt he could relate to a road he walked on – new or old.

This one road was very alien to him. This was the only road that made him stop rather than urging him forward. This was the only road that made him look back at all the roads he had walked on. He closed his eyes as he stood in the middle of that road. The mountains beckoned him, yet he knew that it would be some more time before he walked any further. When he opened his eyes, it was dark. The skies were laden with dark clouds but for some reason, didn’t seem ominous. With his eyes open he could not see this road anymore. It was all dark. And suddenly he felt that this road, or perhaps another one ahead, beckoned him, now urging him on to continue his journey. He wondered at the irony of it. Most roads urged him to walk when there was light and suggested rest as it grew dark.

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This time, it seemed that the road wasn’t going to reveal itself. He would have to see for himself, and walk ahead knowing where he wanted to go, and so he took a step ahead in the dark.

Just after the first step, he stopped and asked himself whether he really knew where he wanted to go.


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