I stand here on this cliff, and I am looking over the edge, and I am trying to see it, to be sure that it is there. But it is sly and elusive, and I can never really catch it in my sight. It flirts around my peripheral vision, tiny little flashes of what it may be.
I step closer, one foot, two. A crowd begins to form behind me. They are two groups, many voices raised together until they are two. And they are screaming my name, calling and jeering wildly and desperately. They both want me, want to claim me. The sound is roaring in my ears. I can't make out the words anymore, but I still know what they want of me.
One group, the ones so dear to my heart, they are trying to pull me back, to wrap me in the warm certainty of their arms, to keep me safe in their way. But that way is still dangerous. The predators of the long desert behind me are vicious and always just out of sight.
The other group, an ebbing and flowing crowd, more liquid than the first, is pushing me forward, herding me towards that cliff and the deeply terrifying fall with it's uncertain landing so far down. The way is treacherous and fearful, not something I can give my heart to. The rocks are to jagged, and to close.
I look up into the sky, trying to imagine myself flying away into that warm and pretty abyss of light. I watch the falcon overhead circle once, twice, and a third time. When it is is done it swoops towards me, past me, off into the horizon, not a single animal telling it which way to go. I long to be that bird, to have that sense of where I am going, of my purpose, buried so deep within me that while I might not know it, that sense will still guide me safely.
A gentle breeze wafts around us, separate tendrils surrounding each group and myself. The breeze does not float out towards the desert behind me, or over the great canyon of uncertainty before me. Instead it winds it's own path, full of curves and bumps and the occaisonal dying down of its spirit between the two.
I close my eyes and imagine the fall, the freedom of it, but also the fear. The pressure to survive bearing down on me until I suffocate on my hard won freedom.
I imagine returning to the desert, the great sun that burns in my mind all day and night, that always warms me, but has burned me so many times in the past. I remember the blistering pain of that welcoming expanse and I shudder. I think of the ones who have disappeared into that same canyon, jumped fearlessly from that cliff, never to be seen again. I remember eyes and hands, and voices, so young but so very brave silenced forever beneath the rushing, swirling waves.
I smile tentatively, the first time in days, and slip free of the crowds, the crushing weight of so many thoughts and wants and needs. The wind playfully grabs at my hair my clothes, pulling it along with it like a little child eager to show you it's treasures.
I turned my face up one last time to the sun, let the golden heat flush my cheeks and the hot air press against me, a fleeting farewell gesture before my cool and flitting breeze tugs me back into its hands.
I laugh, a light and free sound. A child's laugh. I hear a faint tinkiling and fluttering, the faintest giggle, but it is gone away before me as quickly as the wind. I refuse to look back, force myself to focus on the path before me, careful not to stumble and falter.
Suddenly I feel freer, like I can breathe again, and I am a hundred times more light hearted than I had been just moments before. I feel secure and delighted with this path. It is beautiful and crisp and clean, a soft and lush oasis. My eyes are lit with a golden fire, and before I realize what I am doing I am running, losing myself deeper in this meadow. I am afraid I have lost the trail, but each time I look down to be certain the path is still there, firm and wide and smooth.
I laugh again and fall to the ground. The breeze tugs at me, but not as insistent as before. I am on the right path now, there is no reason to race. Just take my time and stay the course. I lay back in the tall grass and wildflowers, contented, free. And the breeze caresses me softly, gentling, as if it senses the need to rest. But not for much longer. Not much longer at all.