Part 26: The path least travelled (part 4)
2007-05-17 15:43:38 -

Our three friends are halfway through their second day on a journey to find a distant treasure. We don’t yet know what the treasure is or how they will know when they have found it; indeed it is the journey itself that holds our attention right now. 

Of the three, Nunco is the most aware of everything around him, since he is firmly routed in the present; his friend Prostremo is always looking into the future, while Preteritus spends his life reminiscing on the past.

Every rainbow has its own aspirational pot of gold – the size of your pot of gold is entirely up to your own imagination. While a physical rainbow is really just a trick of the light, we should not treat our dreams as a mirage, or the pot of gold as unattainable.

Follow the path that you decide to take to your pot of treasure, and let every step on the way be an experience that fills you with wonder, as you discover what life has to offer you when viewed from the present reality that you are currently in. Plan your journey, using lessons learnt from past experiences, and enjoy each moment as there will never be another like it.

For the first time on the adventure, Prostremo and Preteritus had embraced what nature has to offer in the guise of a small mountain stream and enjoyed the moment, without any need to be in a different time. As Nunco reflected on this, the beauty of the river, the combination of the flowing water and the riverbed itself, he hears his two friends shout out.

Looking up he saw, coming around the side of the mountain just above the treeline, a rolling bank of mist. Their way forward seemed to be obscured, yet half the mountain was still bathed in sunlight.

“What an amazing sight,” exclaimed Nunco. “It seems the mountain wishes to preserve its modesty by partially cloaking itself in mist. Look over there, we can’t even see the bottom of the mountain, aren’t we so lucky to witness this?”

“It’s alright for you to say that Nunco.” said Preteritus. “You obviously didn’t hear about the three guys climbing a mountain near here, who were trapped for two nights and nearly died!”
“I suppose it means we can’t go on,” moaned Prostremo. “I was really looking forward to this afternoon, with the sun on our backs as we walked down the other side of the mountain, it would have been beautiful. Why is it that nothing ever seems to work out for me?”

“Right now, as you stand here looking at one more of nature’s creations, how can you possibly say that anything has gone wrong, Prostremo?” replied Nunco.

Prostremo, getting really quite frustrated with Nunco, raised his voice: “Oh come on now Nunco, would you ever stop with your positive talking! There really has to be a time and place for that, and now is not the time; we need to decide what to do and have an idea of where we are going to stay tonight,”

“And what happens if we get stuck like those mountaineers?” added Preteritus. “It could be a complete disaster. I knew we should never have embarked on this foolish journey. I mean, the guys who never cam back didn’t do too well, did they?”

As the two were finding every reason for disaster to strike, Nunco looked back at the edge of the mist. Just then the sun came shining through and the most amazing rainbow stood out in stark contrast to the cloud. Hoping to bring his friends back to the present, Nunco pointed at the rainbow: “Why don’t we walk along and see where it leads us? After all, maybe there is a pot of gold waiting for us at the end, maybe that is the treasure and it is standing in front of us right now!”

“Oh come on now,” said Prostremo, “you know that is all an old wives’ tale, can we not start getting practical here?”

Smiling, Nunco replied: “I am being practical. We need to get moving and maybe the rainbow, which is with us now, is pointing the way for our journey to proceed. There even seems to be a path leading in that direction and if we follow it, we will soon be on the other side of the mountain.”

“Maybe that is what happened to our predecessors,” said Preteritus. “They just went aimlessly along following their dreams rather than sticking to the path which is safe, and they were lost forever.”

“Just because we don’t know where they are, does that mean they are lost?” asked Nunco.
Clearly showing his frustration with his friend’s negativity, he added: “For all we know they could actually have found their treasure and are off living in some exotic place, where the likes of you two can’t keep bringing them down.”

“For once I think Nunco is right,” said Prostremo in response. “We have to decide to go somewhere and we have already travelled all this way, so there is no point in turning back, we would never forgive ourselves for missing out on what might have been.”

So the three started walking, and after a few minutes the path got quite steep and narrow. They had to slow down and catch their breath. The rainbow kept moving away from them, but interestingly enough it seemed to draw them along the path and give them energy and purpose.

Knowing his friends’ mood, Nunco kept his thoughts to himself, as he realised that they all needed to focus on the task ahead, which was keeping on the crooked and narrow path.
As they came round a bend in the path, they caught the distinctive scent of a fire – before two dogs bounded out at them from behind a bush, barking their heads off.

“I guess we are not alone,” said Nunco.
“We had better be careful,” added Prostremo. “We really don’t expect to see people up here, I mean it is quite far from our village and we don’t know of anyone who has set our recently on a journey like ours.”

“Maybe they came from the other direction,” said Preteritus. “It could be a trap, I remember walking home late one night, and there were these people who had two dogs, who used the dogs to distract passers-by while they attacked them and stole all of their possessions.”

“Yes, that makes sense,” replied Nunco sarcastically. “A path that very few people walk along, with a lit fire to give away their whereabouts, is a great strategy for would-be robbers!”
“No need to be so smart, Nunco,” responded Preteritus and Prostremo simultaneously.

Feeling instantly chagrined, Nunco apologised and suggested that go and investigate and see who was there. “Maybe they might be able to help us on our way or give us some advice,” he said, before adding: “And we should at least be polite to them; people are nearly always helpful to those that treat them with courtesy and respect.”

At that, a woman suddenly appeared, asking the three if they were lost and offering them a cup of fresh tea which she had just brewed. As the three friends followed the woman – whose name was Electra – around the corner, they saw that she had three companions. Immediately recognising the three seated men as the same three chaps who had set out a year before in search of the treasure, Prostremo and Preteritus started firing questions at them.

“So how come you are here?” asked Prostremo.
“Did you find the treasure?” added Preteritus.
“Are you going to come back to our Village?” said Prostremo.
“Did you get lost?” said Preteritus.
“Was the treasure what you thought it would be, did it meet your expectations?” said Prostremo.

Janus, the man sat the middle, smiled at them and said: “Why don’t you just sit down, have a cup of tea and relax? It is a long story and I really don’t think it is anything that you would expect”

Sitting on a circle of rocks around the fire on which the tea kettle had been boiling, Santiago – the youngest of the three treasure seekers – started to tell them: “It really is the most incredible story, but before I start I need to ask you something…”

To be continued next week
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