This post originally appeared on my philosophy blog.
Smart by anyone’s standards and strong by most, the young lad thought he’d find a better use for his talents than the family farm. As is often the case, he set out for the city.
Not just any city would do. He’d heard of a beautiful city whose smile would fill his soul, whose touch would inspire his dreams, whose breath would take his own away. Trusting that this ethereal place was the proper milieu for his own good judgment and drive, he set out.
Knowing the journey would be long and hard, he prepared well. He packed efficiently, found the best maps, and ate a hearty breakfast of whole grains and strong tea before stepping across his parents’ threshold.
Long and hard it was indeed. But his strong back and stronger mind were more than a match for the challenges of road and wilderness.
Five years passed.
Surely, you think, as did he, that five years was time enough to reach that fair land. Faulty maps and hardships in the land somehow made his progress seem like that dream state where feet move, but don’t move us.
One day he remembered that beautiful city, and realized that while she was worth a five-day journey, even a five-week journey, that a five-year journey without sight of turret or light wasn’t his original bid.
In that moment came the realization that he no longer cared about that city which had been naught but a dream. His reality was the hard work of a road-weary traveler.
New eyes in a long-bowed head saw nothing but wilderness.
Had he really spent a measurable portion of his life and energy on a journey whose only result was to take him away from his place, without giving him a new one?
And the wilderness was silent.