I stand at the starting line, examining the other participants, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, admiring some, laughing at others.
Some wear nothing more than the clothes on their back. Others, like myself have large heavy backpacks we are required to take with. I envy the freedom of those without bags.
Many excitedly chatter about the journey they are about to embark on. Some already plan for the finish line. A harsh chuckle escapes from between my lips. Don’t they know the finish line may never come? That it is elusive as it initially seems concrete?
Some are here for the first time. They are easy to spot. They talk amongst themselves, occasionally glancing at the “others” – of which I am a part.
We – the “others” – stand at the line, wary of this journey. We have been here before, we know the curves this road can take. We have seen the dark forests, the treacherous cliffs, the detours that bring you back to the start. Although we still long for the finish, our excitement has faded.
We turn our eyes forward, shift the weight on our backs, and wait for the signal that the journey is to begin, wondering if we will be brave enough to take the first step again.