Part 50: The path least travelled (Part 27)
2007-11-08 11:36:51 -

Metro Eireann presents the latest weekly column by the entrepreneur coach and business growth specialist, designed to help you overcome any obstacles and reach your dreams 

Previously: Our lives, while having their own separate identity as far as each of us is concerned, are in fact inexorably intertwined with others and indeed events beyond our control.

Earlier we were introduced to what can be described as the Assisi concept in relation to change, whereby we should accept what we cannot change, change what we can and know the difference. As two sets of travellers met – each with the same mission or intent but different timescales for completion – the profound consequences of that meeting are yet to be felt.

We have left our original companions with Mick, a new person they have encountered, to return to the three travellers who introduced them to Electra – going back to the point where the tree had fallen on Prostremo, as Santiago, Janus and Andreas hear the bough crash to earth from a distance…

As the clouds gathered in, spreading darkness like a mantle across the sky, Andreas was jolted out of his trip down memory lane bathed in serenity and peace by another sound. A feeling of imminent danger washed over him, yet he could not quite put his finger on the reason.

“Holy flying wombats!” he exclaimed as he suddenly realised that new sound was that of rushing water. The storm had unleashed a torrent in the previously dried-up gully, beside where they were sitting – and precisely where they had left their belongings. “Our stuff! Let’s go and grab it before everything is washed down the mountain.”

“It’s not that bad, really,” said Janus, “After all, it’s only just started raining and it can’t be a torrent yet. Can it?”  
“Well, I’m not waiting to find out,” Andreas retorted as he bounded off the rock on which they had been sitting and ran over to where they left their gear. The stream, visibly rising in volume, was swirling around their belongings, small twigs being buffeted in little eddies around the now sodden backpacks.

“How in heck did that stream come about so quickly?” wondered Janus.
“Water, like mankind, has a propensity to find the easiest path,” replied Santiago, as he lifted his dripping rucksack from the stream bed. “I guess we should go and find somewhere to shack up for the night while this rain clears.”

Andreas, scrabbling around in the near darkness, muttered: “Where is my cap? You know, the red woollen one, with the grey flecks? I am sure I stuffed it into the top of my bag, but it must have fallen out. I loved that cap, it was the one present that I still had from Aunt Petunia.”

“If you are meant to find it, I am sure it will turn up somewhere,” said Santiago.
“Oh, would you ever put a sock in your damn philosophy Santiago!” shouted Andreas in exasperation. “Right now, I am soaking wet, our stuff is all ruined, and I have lost something that really meant a lot to me.”

“You are absolutely right, Andreas. Sorry, I should have been more sensitive,” said Santiago, appearing contrite, but the darkness hid the smile in his eyes as he continued: “We are soaking wet, we have nowhere to stay and get dry and scrabbling around in the darkness looking for a cap we can’t find and worrying about it. I just can’t quite figure out yet how that is really going to improve how we feel. Maybe you can help me out here?”

“Okay, yes, of course, you’re right yet again,” a dejected Andreas admitted. “So what do you suggest we do which direction should we head?”

“Hey, did you guys see that? Look, look over there!” shouted Janus. His two companions stopped their discussion and turned just in time to see a young fox pause momentarily at the edge of the stream, bunching her muscles like a tightened coil before springing across the water like a streak of amber. The vixen’s brush swished as she landed and they caught a last glimpse of the white tip as it disappeared into the gloom, scrabbling through the undergrowth on her way.

It was yet another fine example of one of the tenuous connections that provide so many links within all our destinies. Endlessly our paths criss-cross, subtly intertwining lives with harmonious happenings – proof that all future is born in the present.

Unable to explain the powerful feeling of connection that he felt, Santiago picked up his bag, suggesting: “Let’s go upstream, the path seems to head that way, maybe there we will find some shelter.”

As they trudged along in silence, their shoes sodden, collars turned up against the harsh rain beating down upon them, Santiago voiced his thoughts: “As we float down the river of life, bashed and buffeted by the turbulent waters of mediocrity, we need to look out for the opportunity of survival.

“As sure as night follows day, we must constantly be on the lookout to spot the low-hanging branches of opportunity, and grasp them firmly to haul ourselves out of the maelstrom. For if we continue unaware of how we live our lives, we will surely be swept to our doom as society continues to lead us over the edge of sanity.”

“You’re starting to sound like that fellow we met earlier, Santiago,” said Andreas. “What was his name, Nunco or something like that? Where did he get a name like that anyway, what does it mean?”

“I think it is an old Latin word, meaning ‘now’!” replied Santiago. “And thank you, I take that as a compliment, since it is only now that we can decide or indeed make a choice of how we intend to live our future or the rest of our lives, consciously or unconsciously.”

“Great! But that lightening is getting bad, shouldn’t we be getting away from this forest, in case a bough or something falls on our heads?” asked an anxious Janus.

“I think we are coming out of the forest now, and if I remember correctly, there is an overhang about 200m on the right – just over there!” said Andreas, pointing towards what could dimly be made out to be a depression in the distance.

The wind was starting to drive the rain across the side of the mountain, but as they approached the place that Andreas had highlighted, they could see that there was good protection on the leeside. As they got closer, they could see what looked like a shallow cave, with goat droppings all around. In places the heather had been squashed down, indicating that they were not the first to seek shelter from the elements there.

As Janus turned up his nose at the droppings, Andreas said: “Don’t worry about those; they are, after all, just reconstituted vegetation. Besides if our four-legged friends found this a good place to shelter, why shouldn’t we?”
“I really wish I was at home tucked up in a nice warm bed,” moaned Janus.

“Have you ever walked by a field of cows?” asked Santiago rhetorically. “Where the grass seems plentiful in their field, and you see most of them with their necks stuck through the fence eating the grass from the field that they just left yesterday? It quite amusing to watch – when it’s a cow! It is however quite sad to watch when it’s one of us so-called intelligently minded humans doing the same thing.

“You wanted to go on this adventure, to grab the branch of opportunity, to escape the treadmill of mundane humanity, so maybe you can learn to appreciate the fortitude that you have shown thus far and accept some of life’s little inconveniences.”

“At least a cow has a thick leather coat!” grumbled Janus. “Unlike my damp sleeping bag. And besides, there is no room to even put up the tent! But yes, I do see your point; I should thank my lucky stars that I am cold, damp and lucky to be alive!”

“Yet here you are, with all that you have found and discovered,” said Santiago. “How does that make you feel?”
“As the baby polar bear said to his parents,” said Janus, “’I don’t care if I’m meant to be a polar bear – I’m freezing!’”

With that Janus pulled his sleeping bag out of his rucksack, spread it on the ground, climbed into it and rolled over, the conversation definitely over.

But as he drifted off, he couldn’t help thinking back to that time when they had finally found the resting place of the treasure. It was what had happened next that caused his lack of sleep…

To be continued next week
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