The Path (another throwback to 1998)

Rounding the corner of the badly worn gravel path was like crossing into another world. The sun warmed our backs and drifted lazily through the overhanging canopy of branches adorning the young oak trees. We had left the desert-like west Texas emptiness and emerged into a forest. Untouched and innocent to the ways of human kind it radiated a sense of stillness and tranquility. Trees suddenly surrounded us on all sides and the baron earth seemed to burst forth with a life that had been hidden well only moments before. Monkey grass grew tall in many different hues, dark healthy green and the older tan mingling together in perfect harmony.

The narrow path curved into denser foliage and each step was like a miracle of nature. The stones on the ground were now sizable rocks; pieces of mountains that time had chipped away. Wild flowers with sharp diamond shaped petals dotted the ground around us. The ground was alive with colors. Tall sunflowers reached across the way to touch us and we had to duck to avoid going face first into a grove of the electric yellow blooms. Honey bees buzzed around the large faces of the flowers seeming to bask in the imagined glow that they created.

As we walked we came upon an ancient wooden bridge that crossed a four-foot deep chasm. A steep stone wall, another perfect creation of God, ran to the left of the bridge and as we neared it we saw the miracle of the day. A millipede the length of an adult hand scurried from his hidden alcove and slowly scaled the rock face. Each segment of his body was a different shade, neon colors, artificial in their sharpness. Neon blue and orange turning into a vibrant purple, all colors that I had never before seen in nature moving stealthily up the wall. We watched his graceful assent until impatience overtook us. We moved forward eager to see what lay ahead.

A giant tarantula picked us pieces of dirt and moved them from one place to another. He was the master sculpture in this untouched haven. His black downy body seemed to absorb the heat. The paradise went on for a mile at most. We turned a corner and as magically as it had appeared the paradise was lost. We were back in the desert like condition where we had begun. Trying to recapture the beauty we turned to go back in the direction that we had come, the mystery and surprise of the moment was lost. Lost in time, it will never be recaptured again.


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