he had been on this, his chosen path for several years now. it had led him away from many he was once close to until finally he was walking in solitude for most of the time. now he found himself someplace new - in an evergreen forest gently sloping up the mountainside. the air was cool and damp with the freshness of lush greenery and the loose dirt he walked on was soft and dark, slightly crumbling beneath his every step. he loved nature; he loved this, and lost himself in its wonder, embracing it all for several moments until the thought occurred to him to look around. the sudden realization that he was all alone rudely snapped him back to reality. and he didn’t want to remind himself of that, not again, because the thought depressed him lately, more than it ought to. but it was time he became accustomed to it.
changes. there were many this past year, good and bad, and he made the most of them as best he could. and he decided it was time to make serious decisions about the person he needed to become. his motions could no longer be influenced by the masses, nor by musings as random as the changing tides. he had this idea of where he wanted to go and was already heading in the general direction, but was no longer content to merely take in the sights and sounds as he leisurely wandered across there. he knew what needed to be done, at least for the time being, and that would be enough to keep him busy for a bit. he walked on, slightly faster, this time with an inkling of purpose and renewed resolve.
he eventually made his way to the edge of a clearing far above from where he first started. his eyes were staring out at the world below, but his thoughts were elsewhere - inward - upon the fears and insecurities that somehow plagued him all this time. but something was different now. from this vantage point his view was unobstructed, his perspectives clear, and the clouds of uncertainty and confusion that manifested in his mind dissolved like mist in the warmth of a new day. the sense of clarity he was searching for so long was finally found and the sensations of relief and victory were quietly taken in.
“not all who wander are lost” she had said, comforting words echoing his experiences over the last few years. he was glad those words were uttered by someone else because it meant that there were like minds out there, somewhere. he would perhaps meet up with them someday, but until then he needed to focus. he stood with his forehead touching the cold stone wall, pausing, his hands gently grasping at the protrusions just above. he inhaled deeply, his eyes closed, his gear already carefully selected and secured in his backpack. the time was now, and he realized that everything he went through, all the trials and tribulations, victories and defeats were mere preparations for this one moment. he knew that now. and with determination rediscovered, he started the ascent.