Forest Clearing

I stop beside a huge oak tree on the edge of a clearing. In the distance I can see my destination: a mighty castle carved into mountain. I know not what awaits me inside, only that I must reach there if I am to ever be at rest. There my fortune and destiny await. There my journey ends. But the mountain is far off, the climb is high, the forest is thick and I am weary of travelling.

The clearing I stop in is only partially natural. It is a patch created by many travelers who stopped to ponder their journey before me. Their legacy here has nearly been swallowed by the growth of the forest: names carved on bark have faded. Items left behind have rusted or been buried. The grass has taken back the paths they made leading to and away from this place and the monuments they left to their passing have all but crumbled.

It seems only right to leave some legacy of my own. Just as it seems a rite of passage for travelers through this forest to face the many mighty rivers which crisscross it, so too it seems a rite of passage to try and immortalize oneself in this spot despite all evidence that such attempts are futile.

I decide to leave a map of all of the places in the forest where I have been. The map is crude, hand drawn and several patches are missing for I either forgot how I reached them or have willingly left them out. I did not make it, I found it in a clearing much like this one, under a rock. I filled it in with what I learned as I travelled. The map has aided me greatly as I journeyed, it became a diary, a companion. It became a physical manifestation of my memory. Sometimes, before I slept for the night I would examine it and remember my past adventures.

In time the map will fade or rot or its destinations will be swallowed and changed by the growth but hopefully future travelers will be guided by it.

I nail the map to the bark of the tree I first rested on and am on my way shortly. I would like to spend more time in the clearing but travelers can never stay in one spot too long, we can only rest awhile there and leave a bit of ourselves behind to guide those who journey behind us.

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