This time it’s for real. One story below is truth and one story is fiction and I’m leaving it up to you to decide which is which. Are you up for the challenge? I’m guessing you are.
I left the lake behind and ventured through the meadow in search of peace for the turmoil in my mind and body. The mud sucked at my boots and I had to pick my path carefully, sticking to the sections where the ground was more soil than water. I wasn’t always successful. The chill and slosh of water seeping through my shoes to soak my socks and feet was proof of that. The sensation did nothing to ease my pain.
The day tipped over and the sun headed down its western slope and still I trudged on. There were miles yet to cover and peace still to find. Each step forward took me further from where I had started but not necessarily any closer to where I was headed. Perhaps it would have helped to know my destination, but so few actually do. A vague notion, an ideal maybe, and a direction are usually the best any of us are afforded.
My quest wasn’t to uncover the why of those truths so I didn’t let their heaviness weigh me down. The pack on my back was already doing a good enough job of that as it was. Shifting the weight slightly by arching my back, lifting the mass away from my hips and swiveling my hips, I settled the sack of food, clothes and other essentials into a more comfortable position and then continued on. My feet quickly regained the steady rhythm of my progress.
I didn’t know where I was going, but I was on my way.
The tiny frogs, arrayed in colors from the dark green of the reeds sprouting from the edges of the creeping tendrils of the lake to an almost ashen grey, scattered ahead of me. They had no interest in being stepped on and that was fine with me because I had no interest in harming them either. I stooped to try and catch one but it jumped away before I could even get close.
The soft marshy soil at the water’s edge oozed into my shoes despite my best efforts to stay on the dry patches of the fading animal trail I followed. I couldn’t tell what creature had created the path around the lake, but I could clearly make out the tracks and droppings of others who had used it more recently. None were ones that worried my thoughts but I kept my gaze vigilantly sweeping around me all the same. Even the gentlest of creatures can be dangerous when startled.
I was attempting to circle the lake without resorting to climbing into the surrounding hills. There was no real reason for the venture beyond it was something to do and I had made circling the high altitude lakes I camped at something of a goal. As I moved through the muck, however, I knew I would be thwarted. The ground was more water than soil and eventually I would come to a place where I would no longer be able to continue on and still remain mostly dry.
I went on a ways further anyway, up to the very edge, as far as I could before the water covered my boots, because it was important to see that point and live that moment.
So, do you have it? Could you spot the truth? Was it easier to spot the fiction? Let me know what your guesses are.