Energized by the crowd, he shook to loosen his muscles, stretched his arms across his body, and then lifted them and waved. The people cheered and sent him on his way. The sun warmed his body, skin exposed in his summer attire. He felt as if he could run forever, like he had wings carrying him along the way. Those he passed waved and called him out by name. He ran and ran and ran.
The day got long and his legs began to ache. It was time for a break. Pushing his body, he jogged to the next street and then found a nice restaurant. The staff was friendly, delivering his cuisine with a smile and with kind comments of wander and amazement of his successes. His waitress was pretty and she smiled long smiles and laughed at appropriate times. “You are so big and strong. But I think it would help if you would take some food with you.” So she packed him a bag of food and sent him on his way.
Carrying the bag of food in one hand, he continued on his travels. Running and then eventually slowing his pace to a jog. On and on down the dirt road. The area was not as populated now. He jogged past cornfields and he jogged past fruit groves. But there was a pain in his calves he could ignore no longer. He jogged and jogged and jogged and carried his bag of food.
He needed a place to sleep and finally he came upon a barn. Calling out, a gruff voice answered, “Who is there?” He did not sound so kind but upon explaining his journey he responded, “This once, I will allow you but take this sleeping bag with you on your travels, you should not be trespassing on private property.” He thanked him and laid down to rest his body. With the sun going down, he laid down on the hay. With the call of the rooster, he awoke with a jerk. He did not mean to sleep this long. He must continue on his journey. So he stood and stretched his aching body. He carried his bag of food in one hand and his sleeping bag in the other hand and he walked and walked and walked.
There was not a part of his body that did not call out for relief. His feet were blistered from his old shoes, stomach achy from improper nutrition, back sore from lack of a comfortable night’s rest, and his very skin was red from the sun that shone down and mocked him. The hardest part of his journey set in his path, he tried not to think of the tall mountain, it seemed impossible, he just put one foot in front of the other and continued on his way.
Needing rest, there was none to be found and soon he found himself at the foot of the mountain. Looking up, he could not see the top. There was only one thing to be done, his arms hung by his side, each clutching their materials and one foot at a time, he continued on his journey. He climbed and climbed and climbed.
The air grew thinner and he soon found that he was lacking in clothing. Chills formed on his legs and arms. The wind began to blow and pushed against him. He tried to cover himself with the sleeping bag. Clutching the ends and pulling them up around his chin, he continued. His bare, scrawny legs dangling out and shaking from exhaustion and cold.
Nothing filled his mind, nothing sang, nothing laughed, nothing smiled. The journey. He pressed on and on and on, pushing into the cold, bitter wind, fighting the physical pains of his body and ignoring his lack of company. He suffered and suffered and suffered.
In the distance, something glowed. It became the focus of his mind. He pushed and pushed and pushed. One step, then another, then another. He lost track of time. He did not know how long his journey had lasted, but one more step he must take. His body fought back hard and his will pushed him another step until he collapsed in front of the glow that had grown until, in his last recollection, he realized it was coming from a fire, shinning through a window, placed in a large house. And he collapsed at the door.
The shock of hospitality. Taken inside from the now snowy woods was instant relief. To rest in front of the glowing fire brought more than he had hoped for. The offer of a hot bath was more than he could comprehend. The hot dinner that was placed before him was more than he could put into words. And the invitation of staying in the plush bed finally brought tears to his eyes. He had reached his destination. His son climbed up into his lap and hugged his neck. His wife stared into his eyes and made him promise never to leave them ever again. He had found what he had been searching for: home.