Long journey through the night

Inspired by navigating through the Negev desert.

Your first steps are those of trepidation… and excitement. With a solitary hum on your lips you peruse the overbearing darkness and attempt to make sense of the topography that surrounds you. Ominous silhouettes of distant mountains beckon you hither, the chilly breeze urges you on, whilst Polaris – the North Star – ever faithful, guides you with his cheeky twinkle.

As you set off, pre-memorized compass bearings and distances blend into one gooey mesh. Curvaceous hills give way to little streams that in turn zigzag into mighty rivers. You re-imagine the map and try to make sense of it all. There’s supposed to be a mountain in front of me .. am I even in the right place?

Your doubts and speculations kindle a renewed sense of determination to succeed. You begin to climb the rocky, accursed gills of a forgotten desert – whilst the distant howls of a single wolf, so ever poignant, pierce your senses. Only the dreadful lullaby of a lonely wolf could arouse so much sadness, so much emotion.

The weight of the heavy bag takes its toll on your shoulders, but as you tilt you sore neck toward the heavens and greet the canopy of stars that watch your every move, you suddenly feel lighter, more agile.

They say that every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – and as you take that first step, you can only imagine the strange beauty that awaits you on your long journey through the night. The dark caverns of hidden caves, the long spikes of tall thorn bushes, the clean, crispy wisp of the desert air. These and more, lay dormant here in this isolated badland, until perchance, your paths meet and then you pass by, only to part farewell – forever. A prickly thorn embedded in your calf the only reminder of your brief friendship.

And just as everything seems lost – and you feel as if you’re going around in circles, a tiny ray of dark blue is sent forth from the horizon of the darkest part of the night. You scale the highest mountain and hold your breath. Silence. It’s breathtaking. Even the wind – awed by the majesty of the rising sun – quietens downs, and gives way to a powerful solitude that one can only experience alone – in the middle of nowhere.

You raise your compass and begin to descend into the valley below. A tiny figure hobbling in to the abyss and then disappearing from here for eternity. Only the stones on this mountain remain to tell your story.

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